The Congress of Deputies has validated, without votes against and with the abstention of the PP and Vox, the decree law to reduce the gas bill and raise the salary of officials by 1.5%, which also includes the extension of the deductions that are applied in personal income tax for improving the energy efficiency of homes.
Spain escapes the wave of warnings about possible blackouts in Europe this winter
During her initial speech, the vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, presented the main lines of the decree, which in addition to collecting measures to reduce the gas rate also includes the extension of the deductions that apply to personal income tax for improving the energy efficiency of homes, according to Europa Press.
The vice president has recognized again that the Government will consider extending the limit to two kilometers from the self-consumption networks, at the request of several parliamentary groups in the commissions of recent weeks.
Ribera has requested the greatest possible consensus around the measures included in the text to protect citizens and the country’s productive fabric, at a time of “strong tensions in European energy markets”.
The deputy of the PSOE, María Montserrat García Chavarría, has highlighted the protection measures for families, the self-employed and the working middle class promoted in this decree. “This Government has risen to the occasion”, emphasized the deputy, emphasizing the lower inflation rate in Spain compared to other European countries and the “record” employment figure for the month of October. “That is our way of doing politics,” she stressed.
The PP criticizes the Iberian gas mechanism
The PP, through deputy Juan Diego Requena Ruiz, has begun its criticism by focusing on the Iberian exception, which in its opinion “has triggered” the demand for Russian gas. Likewise, he has denounced the setback on the independence of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) to include “propaganda” in the electricity bill of consumers.
This last criticism is based on the fact that, as of the decree, information on the impact of the VAT reduction on gas will be included in the electricity bill. He has also incited Teresa Ribera in relation to the Midcat gas pipeline, arguing that the Government “was not capable of keeping the Maghreb gas pipeline open”.
The deputy of Asturias for the Mixed Group, Isidro Manuel Martínez, has shown his rejection of the validation of the Royal-Decree Law due to the agglutination of measures that, in his opinion, should have a differentiated treatment.
Miriam Nogueras, from Junts, has continued in this line of complaint, alleging that the text could have been divided into “five or six different decrees”. “They have become accustomed to imposing the theory of lentils, or take them or leave them”, criticized the deputy during her intervention.
José M. Figaredo, from Vox, has joined the criticism of the ‘mega-decree’. During his intervention, the deputy invited Teresa Ribera to change the Spanish energy system “from A to Z”, since, in his opinion, the Government bases its energy strategies on “small patches” that do not do they work.
Lack of transparency of energy companies
The EH-Bildu budget spokesman praised the virtues of self-consumption in his speech and celebrated the extension to two kilometers announced by Ribera, although he pointed out that it does not resolve “all the casuistry” of the electrical system. Likewise, he has denounced the lack of transparency in some energy companies, referring specifically to the problems that citizens are encountering in order to avail themselves of the rate of last resort.
On her side, the economic spokeswoman for the PNV, Idoia Sagastizabal, although she has shown her support for the decree, has pointed out the advisability of establishing some automatic mechanism for the transfer of clients to the regulated rate in the face of the problems that they have denounced in recent weeks.
In the opinion of Inés Sabanés, from Más Pais, the energy measures of the decree are aimed at “what is urgent so that no one gets cold” during the coming winter. She has also joined Sabanés in criticizing the energy companies, which in her opinion “are torpedoing everything they can and more” the transfer to the regulated rate. That is why the deputy has called for greater transparency in the understanding and control of the billing systems of these companies.
The deputy of Ciudadanos, María del Carmen Martínez Granados, has confirmed the support of her training for the text, although she has criticized fiscal aspects and the forms of processing it, which was approved by the Council of Ministers and left “very little margin” to the rest of the groups to “modify and improve” the decree.
“Energy Oligopoly Dependence”
Juan Antonio López de Uralde Garmendia, from Unidas Podemos, has joined the criticism in this regard, a situation that shows, in his opinion, a “dependence on the energy oligopoly”, which he has also described as “sick”.
That is why Uralde has urged the Government to promote public intervention in the energy sector, since, unlike other countries in the European environment, it does not have “neither a public company nor public participation in that energy oligopoly”.
In the opinion of Néstor Rego, from the BNG, the decree includes in energy matters some measures that he has celebrated, such as with the expansion of self-consumption, however, he has made the lack of ambition ugly by not betting on more far-reaching measures, alleging that “they are impossible until they are not.”
In line with self-consumption solutions, Joan Capdevila (ERC) thanked the Government for the “script twist” to increase the distance to two kilometres. “More megawatts on the roofs is less land occupation. Every kilowatt produced on your roof is a kilowatt that disappears from your bill”, he concluded.
In energy matters, the decree, approved by the Council of Ministers on October 18, collects the financing via the General State Budget (PGE) of the deficit generated by the limits on the increase in the natural gas bill for the new Last Resort Rate (TUR) of neighborhood savings for community boilers, as well as the extension of the current conditions for domestic consumers of TUR 1 and TUR 2 to limit the increase in their gas bills by 5%, which will be in force in both cases until the end of 2023.
The text, which has been in force since its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE), also contemplates aid worth 3,000 million euros from the PGE to reduce the energy bill of 40% of the country’s households due to the impact of the crisis.
On the other hand, the document also approves the compensation of 1.5% in the remuneration of public employees for 2022. This salary increase, agreed within the framework of the General Negotiation Table of the Public Function, is retroactive. Therefore, this increase is added to the 2% increase in public remuneration that came into force on January 1 of this year.
This additional increase of 1.5% across the board is exceptional, as it is the first time it has occurred. The same will apply to all public administrations, including autonomous communities and local entities. Its consolidation in the current year means that it is applied to the remuneration in force on December 31, 2021, so the overall increase for 2022 is 3.5%.