Wednesday, October 20

Electric fee: Sánchez will not fulfill his commitment

It is impossible and it was from the beginning. The President of the Government will not fulfill his commitment to equal the electricity rates of three years ago. A promise stemming from a serious beginner-friendly mathematical and political miscalculation that will cost the president dearly by the end of this year. You will not be able to do it with the measures approved in the middle of last month. And he could not if he suddenly got out of the illusionist hat that he made who told him to launch that promise a new lowering of VAT to the minimum of 4% or convince Competition to completely eliminate tolls for a few months.

In an interview published on September 5 in The country, Pedro Sánchez announced the “commitment” that “all citizens with an average consumption at the end of 2021 pay a similar amount and similar to what they paid in 2018, logically with the discounted CPI.” The president repeated the same announcement when he presented the concrete measures that he would carry out to achieve it, included in a Royal decree law approved on September 14.

If an analysis of the prices of the kilowatt hour is carried out in the days prior to that interview and to the date on which the Council of Ministers approved the package of measures, the figures come out. The effect on the fixed and variable terms of the bill that would cause the decrease in regulated charges (96.1%) and the special tax on electricity (which went from 5.11 to 0.5%) were no small thing . They resulted in a monthly receipt that, if stable until December, would make all the 2021 turnover equal to that of 2018 plus a percentage similar to that which could represent the accumulated CPI since then until the one that could be predicted by the end of the year.

But the big mistake of the one who advised Sánchez to announce that promise was that he made his calculations from that still photo of the price of electricity in the days before the measures were published in the BOE. It is clear that he wanted to believe that as soon as the president launched his commitment, the oligopoly would give up its voracious inflationary appetite, maintaining those same rates until the end of the year. A self-delusion typical of someone so deluded as to think that a sector that has spent decades maximizing profits by pressuring governments and cajoling politicians with their revolving doors to (dis) regulate at will would have the slightest “social empathy.”

It was obvious that the reaction of the large electricity companies would not be precisely to stop raising rates. Did the decree include a single measure that would oblige them to do so? Perhaps the unpredictable was how far the dark lords of light would be able to go with their response to the Government when it approved that they would have to return 2,600 million of their extraordinary benefits so that the system could pay for a drastic reduction in the regulated charges of the invoice.

The fact that the average price in the wholesale auction has already touched 300 euros has been one of those responses to the measures approved by the Government, which in the political sphere have included the threat of sudden closure of nuclear power plants, the paralysis of investments in renewables and the carmonazo, an attempt to humiliate the PSOE with the most atypical and pathetic revolving door in history.

Taking as a reference the rates that have come out of the daily auction in the first seven days of October, the monthly receipt of the average user of the FACUA model (consumption of 366 kWh and 4.4 kW of power) would now represent no less than 135.57 euros. In August, the invoice surpassed for the first time the historical record of 88.66 euros reached in the first quarter of 2012. It was 93.10 euros, followed by 102.71 in September, in which the decrease was already applied. of the special tax on electricity and, in the second half of the month, also that of the charges.

In the unpredictable case that the prices of those first days of October remained stable for the remainder of the year, the invoice for 2021 would represent 1,146 euros. Nothing less than 23.8% above the 926 euros in 2018.

In any case, don’t lose perspective either. Setting the goal of equalizing – “with discounted CPI” – the bill for 2018 was also a game of trilerism. Does anyone remember how much he paid three years ago for electricity bills? The solemn commitment of the president made the vast majority of consumers believe that 2018 was a good year.

The point is that precisely in January of that year, Sánchez requested explanations and regulatory measures from the then president, Mariano Rajoy, given the enormous rise that electricity bills had experienced in the previous quarter, which continued to become more expensive during the following months. In fact, 2018 was the second most expensive in history, only behind 2012, when the average user paid 958 euros.

“In the last decade there has not been such a high price for electricity in Spain. The bill has gone from 46 euros to 88, almost double. What does the Government have to say?” Sánchez asked in a tweet in january 2018. “The rise in electricity of 8% proves the failure of the electricity reform in Rajoy, and warns of the risk of more people suffering from energy poverty,” he had already warned in August 2014. The interannual increase has reached in the first week of October 110%.

Today, beyond the many changes that at the state and community level are necessary to end this scam liberalization and the huge profits of the large electricity companies, the only mechanism that the Government could use to drastically reduce rates is an intervention to the one empowered by the European directive of the sector. The aim is to declare the vast majority of families vulnerable consumers -excluding only those with higher income levels- and impose a discount of at least 50% on the bills of those with semi-regulated PVPC rates. A measure that could be extended for six months and reviewed if after that period the market continues as high as it has been since the beginning of the year.

And the fact is that the measures approved in September are, as was the VAT reduction in June, attempts at partial and temporary solutions to a structural problem that consumers have been suffering with the electricity sector since the first decade of this century. During the governments of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the main bases of the electricity liberalization model imposed by José María Aznar, designed by the infamous Rodrigo Rato, were not questioned. Nor now, when only trying to put patches that are smaller than the hole to be covered on top.

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