Thursday, December 1

Competition detects “massive movements” of consumers to switch to the regulated gas rate

The president of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), Cani Fernández, said this Wednesday that the body has detected “massive movements” by consumers to abandon the free gas market, the majority until now, and switch to the regulated tariff, which for a year has had increases limited by law and that the Government has just reinforced, by including the neighborhood communities in it, providing public funds to compensate the marketers for this price intervention.

In a conference on “The consumer at the center of the new energy regulation” at Redeia’s 2022 Sustainability Conference, Fernández assured that the organization has “verified that last-resort marketers respond to requests to deal with agility in the hiring of the TUR”, after the consumer organization Facua has pointed out Naturgy for putting “obstacles to hiring regulated electricity and gas rates by removing the form from its website”.

Fernández explained that the CNMC is going to publish a tool on its website “to guarantee the correct invoicing of the gas cap” by the marketers, so that the consumer can verify a posteriori (once their bill is received) “what is the real value of the adjustment mechanism that corresponds to pay with this concept”, based on your consumption, demand peaks and your contract, and claim if appropriate in case of detecting any discrepancy in your bill.

Fernández, who has recognized that it is “crucial” to stop the rise in energy prices in the short and medium term, “trying to safeguard competition”, has insisted on the proper functioning of the information system that the CNMC uses to monitor that the subsidy to fuels is reaching the pumps, “which allows us to know in real time any anomalous deviation on the final prices”.

The president of the CNMC has indicated that self-consumption is experiencing an “exponential jump”, especially among the most informed consumers and with greater purchasing power, but “the next great challenge” now is to make it progress also in horizontal property: the communities of neighbors, “so typical” of Spain, unlike other countries with more penetration of this energy solution, such as Germany.

Fernández has also sent a message to the other side of the Pyrenees in line with the French reluctance to build the gas pipeline that would allow gas to be sent to northern Europe: he has celebrated that at the moment Spain is exporting electricity to France, “which is in a delicate situation” due to the maintenance problems of its nuclear reactors and the strikes in its public energy companies. Something that in his opinion is “a good lesson” when from the other side of the border they are not “clear that interconnections are necessary.”

And, beyond energy, he has described railway liberalization as a “success story”. In November the third high-speed operator will enter, competing on the “most interesting” lines and “no one else has more”, something that contrasts with the “enormous barriers” that Renfe is finding in other countries and that allows the Madrid-Barcelona route “for up to seven euros”. “We hope that next year there will also be alternative routes in the southern corridor” and this is possible because “the network operator has well understood that competition is essential”.