The third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, ruled out this Monday in Congress to adopt intervention measures on the wholesale electricity market such as those proposed last week by United We Can, which has asked to cap the prices charged by the hydroelectric and nuclear plants.
In an appearance in Congress, Ribera has proposed to reduce the linkage of the semi-regulated rate of the voluntary price to small consumers (PVPC) of the wholesale market, to which it is directly indexed and that in August has broken eight historical records in an unprecedented escalation that it has skyrocketed the CPI in August. The last and second in a row, this Tuesday.
In his appearance, Ribera explained that, with a projection of current prices, the electricity bill paid by the 10 million households subject to the PVPC will stand at 644 euros per year, which represents an increase of approximately 25% compared to the “record low prices” of 2020, 512 euros per year, when the wholesale market collapsed due to the pandemic.
During his appearance, in an extraordinary session, at the Commission for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, to report on electricity prices and the reform of the electricity system, Ribera has supported the petition, registered last week by Más País, Compromís and Nueva Canarias, from various minority groups to create an investigation commission on the price of electricity. But he has set foot on the wall against the latest proposal by United We Can to intervene in the electricity market.
He has assured that the Government “will never promote the adoption of measures that we know are directly contrary to community law” because “there is nothing more harmful to citizens” and that “ends up becoming a loss of confidence for the country” and translates into “penalties plus interest.”
Next, and in clear allusion to the proposals of United We Can, he referred to “some basic elements of the community framework that we must not forget”: the “express prohibition” of “establishing regulated wholesale prices” for “more than 25 years ”And the“ prohibition of establishing maximum or minimum prices ”, as well as“ discriminating technologies in the wholesale market ”.
The vice president has said that the Government is “sensitive to a demand raised by consumer associations” to “regulate that PVPC rate again, reducing their dependence on a volatile market such as the wholesale market” and linking it to “a basket of indicators more stable ”that allow prices“ less volatile ”than now.
But he has warned that “this greater security” implies a higher risk premium, so “you have to be cautious about which indicators it indexes and when it occurs”.
Ribera, who has advanced that the suspension of the generation tax will also be extended in the last quarter of the year, has also referred to the “scandalous reduction of some volumes of water” in certain reservoirs that “cannot be ruled out that it is compatible with concessional clauses ”, but that“ it is not reasonable ”when this source, which uses a public good,“ has set the price for 65% of the hours in June, 64% in July and 59% in August ”, when “evidently it does not internalize neither the cost for fossil fuel nor the cost for CO2.”
Although it is “very likely” that what they have done is legal, Ribera has reproached the electricity companies for “not at all” showing “social empathy”, a value that is also “listed on the stock market.”
As he explained, the Government “is already working” on the application of article 55 of the Water Law, although it has not given more details in this regard. This article regulates the powers of the Cuenca bodies and, if necessary, allows them to “condition or limit the use of the public hydraulic domain to guarantee its rational exploitation.”