Sunday, April 2

My electric company and me

The other day my electric company wrote to me personally. It was an email in a very friendly tone, in which the first thing he told me was that I have been a very lucky person, having enjoyed until today the supply of gas and electricity with “the peace of mind of a stable price”. For obvious reasons, I found that first paragraph unsettling. Despite that somewhat familiar, almost dynamic tone, there was something excessively direct about it, as if it were going to go too quickly to a yet unknown grain. I already know that my electric company has no time to waste with me, even though I have been collaborating for years in paying the millionaire salaries of their staff with some bills that have dragged me to the end of the month, but that’s my problem. I wanted to keep hope in something also unknown and I continued reading, although with the corner of my eye already prepared for worse news.

The grain was in the first sentence of the second paragraph and it said bluntly, it was telling me personally, that as of April 25, a new price would apply to my contract. I was overwhelmed that before going into any kind of explanation, after the first point and then, what my electricity company came to tell me personally was that I could terminate my contract at no additional cost, that I could leave at any time, that this was not a kidnapping, that it was my right to free myself without paying any ransom. My hair stood on end because I understood that the dilemma I was considering, at the point of mail, was nothing more than fright or death. From there would come the conditions, in his case, of my Stockholm syndrome. Syndrome or death.

In the conditions that my electricity company explained to me, there were numbers with six-digit decimals, and they were formulated in a ball of euros per month for the fixed term and for the variable term that gave, in one case or another, estimated annual costs of which I only managed to understand that from April 25 I would pay triple for the same supply. The first thing I thought of was how I would manage if I were already a slightly clueless octogenarian or simply a person who did not speak Spanish. Unlike my electric company, I waste my time on speculation. Then I continued reading about royal decrees, coercion by the Government of Spain, supply auctions, alternative supply sources and even clauses that allow electricity companies to terminate the contract. There came a time when I saw myself twinned with the Marxes in a cabin on the battleship Potemkin. Getting lost in clauses is a good strategy.

When I was already in diagonal reading mode, I reached the end of the statement, which ended with the slogan ‘It’s green. It’s digital. It’s Iberdrola’ (which is the name of my company). Then I remembered how the activists had been evicted from scientific rebellion of the ‘Madrid es Ciencia’ fair, held a couple of weeks ago. The scientists of Extinction Rebellion covered the Iberdrola stand to denounce its greenwashing and the police dragged them out. No one from Iberdrola was dragged out of Ifema for being one of the ten most polluting companies in the State. No one from Iberdrola was dragged out because the company was selling an energy transition that is incompatible with the UN’s Intergovernmental Plan for Climate Change (IPCC). Nobody from Iberdrola was dragged out for being the eighth company with the most CO2 emissions in Spain. Scientists who denounce that Iberdrola’s hydroelectric projects have caused the forced displacement of thousands of indigenous people in Brazil, who used to live in the usurped forests and rivers and are now crowded into urban ghettos, crawled out.

When I think again that Iberdrola has written to me personally to tell me that I am going to pay triple for my electricity and gas supply, the different conjectures about those increases that we have heard in recent times come to mind. The most repeated, that the war in Ukraine has altered the Russian gas markets and has caused prices to skyrocket. Voucher. But I am also thinking of the marginal price system, which blows up the bills. I am thinking of the depletion of the expensive and unsustainable oil model. I think that the energy system is big business instead of common good. Then I think of how little has been done for the development of renewable energies, and that I have personally continued to collaborate with Iberdrola in paying millionaire salaries to a dome shaped like a revolving door. The last one, Ángel Acebes, who has just been appointed president of the appointments committee, which also seems like a cabin. I search and find: “The Appointments Committee [de Iberdrola] It is an internal informative and consultative body created by the Board of Directors, without executive functions, with powers of information, advice and proposal within its scope of action”. And I think, great salary. And I think about my bills as of April 25. And I think, it was ETA.