The Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, assured this Thursday that the Government “is doing and is looking for how to continue doing” to lower the electricity bill. However, the third vice president added that the blame for the high prices in the wholesale electricity market, which has marked four consecutive historical highs this week, is the high amounts of gas and carbon dioxide emission rights, two factors that Spain cannot influence. “We can try to convince Putin to pump more gas in the European market and we can try to convince the European Commission to introduce an interventionist measure in the CO₂ markets, but that is not realistic,” he said in an interview on the Chain To be.
To fight this market at record highs, Ribera has opened the door to reform the regulated electricity tariff (PVPC) to reduce its dependence on the wholesale market. The minister has also responded to the calls for mobilizations in the street made by her government partner, United We Can. “Mobilizing against the rise in electricity is like mobilizing against the rise in oil, this is not resolved with a mobilization in the street,” said the minister, who added that “the challenge is to find solutions.” This Wednesday, the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Pablo Echenique, assured that his party would act in the Government, in Parliament and in the street to stop the rise in electricity.
The third vice president has said that wholesale market prices do not have a great impact on domestic consumers. And it has regretted the rejection of the European Commission to reform the pricing system in European wholesale markets, according to which all technologies are paid at the same price as the last one to enter to cover demand and that, generally, it corresponds with the most expensive. The vice president believes that this system does not correspond to current times and is not reasonable because it prevents consumers from benefiting from the lower cost of renewable energy and from continuing to pay for energy at the price of the most expensive, gas.
Regarding the factors that drive up wholesale prices, the minister has assured that they are completely unrelated to what the Government can do. They are partly due to the international gas market, which has skyrocketed its prices, making the electricity generated by combined cycle plants more expensive, and partly due to an auction model that is similar across Europe. “The European institutions do not want to change this model because they consider it efficient,” he said.
What these days is at maximum prices is the wholesale price of electricity, which is paid to companies that generate electricity. This amount has an impact on up to a third of the bill of those who are covered by the regulated rate (the voluntary price for the small consumer or PVPC), which is the part that depends on consumption and is indexed to wholesale prices. These are about 10 million customers, while for another 17 million on the free market, what they pay depends on the price they have agreed with the operator. However, according to consumer associations, the offers they receive from companies will also be influenced by the wholesale market in the long run. Most of the electricity bill, however, responds to other costs and taxes that are paid.
Influencing this part, the third vice president has defended the measures that the Government has already adopted to lower the bill, such as the temporary reduction of VAT from 21% to 10% and the abolition, also temporary, of the 7% tax on generation Of electricity. Ribera has indicated that the Government is seeing if there are other concepts that affect what consumers pay and that can be modified.
Ribera has also referred to the controversy generated by the announcement of the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona, an issue that has also caused friction between the two government partners. “My responsibility in this field is to ensure that the project complies with all environmental guarantees,” said the minister. “It is significant that no one up to now has said anything to doubt that this is not going to be the case,” he said, adding that “if [el proyecto] it does not comply with all environmental guarantees, it will not succeed ”.