The strong and abnormal increases in the daily price of electricity in recent months, which are leaving a summer of chained records, offer a feeling of vulnerability for consumers in the face of an electricity bill that seems uncontrolled, especially for the users of the contract of the regulated market called Voluntary Price to the Small Consumer (PVPC).
The new electricity bill explained in four strokes
Thus, the assumption is that the maximum peaks reached would make the bill of those households with a price per kilowatt hour (kWh) that varies depending on the hours of the day according to regulated prices, always taking as a reference the price of the daily auction of energy, the PVPC.
In contrast, those households with free market contracts, which the electricity companies promote, would be protected against the current “rate storm”, never seen before since the Spanish electricity sector was liberalized in 1997. The reason is that when paying a price per kWh regardless of their consumption and / or daily prices, the current peaks are alien to them.
Does PVPC hold up as the cheapest?
However, and according to the most recent statistics, the PVPC rate of the regulated market continues to be, always looking at long-term data, that is, in the integral of an entire annual cycle, cheaper than its counterparts in the free market.
A) Yes revealed it in the Congress of Deputies last Monday 30 the Third Vice President of the Government and Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, who explained to the deputies that “on average – take the data with caution because we are talking about averages, macro references – the PVPC rate was 20% cheaper, cheaper than the free market rate, than the so-called flat rates “.
And that, despite the fact that up to June the consumers under the PVPC have seen their bill increase on average by 6.9% compared to 2020, a year that was historically low due to the collapse of prices in the wholesale market, While for the free market it was reduced by 4.6%, something that the vice president related to the reduction of VAT from 21 to 10% and the suspension of the generation tax to contain the scale of the wholesale auction.
That is, even in the worst case scenario for variable rates, with rate records every other day, the PVPC continues to assume, in statistical terms, without going into the detail of each particular contract or the consumption of each person. , greater savings for the consumer’s pocket.
In retrospect, the figures offered by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition if an analysis is made of what consumers who have a PVPC tariff have paid on average in recent years, show that a consumer in 2018 paid a total of 598 euros throughout the year, that is, slightly less than 50 euros per month.
In 2019, that same consumer paid 562 euros; In 2020, with a record low prices, it fell to 512 euros, and in 2021, always according to data from this ministry, and projecting current prices to the entire cycle that ends this December, this year it would be if the mathematical model is met. at 644 euros: 25% more than in 2020, but slightly less than 55 euros on a monthly average.
In this regard, the expert consultant in the electricity market Francisco Valverde estimated in January 2019 the extra cost of the free market offers, with respect to a user who opted for the PVPC with hourly discrimination, at about 70 euros per year, taxes included, for which according to their data, is still more profitable in 2021.
However, the ministry does not offer these data to take advantage of a good management or the proper functioning of the PVPC rate, but in spite of what the households that have hired it are suffering these months. In fact, the minister acknowledged being sensitive “to a demand raised by consumer associations, which is to regulate that PVPC rate again reducing its dependence on a volatile market, such as the wholesale market”, which will lead the Government to study measures to reduce the volatility of this rate by reducing its dependence on the pool, in exchange for the consumer paying a small risk premium.
But despite this, the greatest savings with the PVPC is the general trend year after year, as successive studies by the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) have shown, which confirm that in the long term it is cheaper than the offers of the so-called free market promoted by the electricity companies. According to the CNMC, in 2019 (the last year analyzed) the PVPC was 17% cheaper than the average of these offers.
Also the consumer organization Facua revealed in August 2020 that “an average user who has contracted a free market tariff can reduce the amount of his invoice up to 28.9% if he returns to the semi-regulated tariff, the Voluntary Price for the Small Consumer (PVPC) [desde el mercado libre]”.
This was confirmed in the comparative study carried out by Facua, which analyzed offers from ten marketers in March of that year and, in all cases, their rates made the receipt more expensive compared to the “already high PVPC.”
How can it be cheaper with the current highs?
What explains the Ministry for Ecological Transition, “without small print or additional services”, the PVPC “represents a saving compared to any other contracting modality, considering as energy price the one that results directly from the production market and not incorporating any cost for the price assurance”.
It refers to the obligation of some free market contracts to contract products such as maintenance, which may already be included in home insurance, but also to the corrections that apply to excess consumption over the contracted forecasts, the “small print “.
Thus, many flat rates, which agree with the consumer a monthly fixed, actually take advantage of some consumption sections to set said rate, and if in the annual count this section is exceeded, which is not impossible when one or one trusts, the trading company buys for the kWh consumed, sometimes at exorbitant prices.
And the same happens with the fixed rates, which unlike the flat rates do not charge the extra kWh consumed but annually recalculate the price that the consumption would have cost, strictly within the agreed range, and if we exceed, they charge us the surplus, although in based on prices set in the regulated market.
To this we must add unilateral increases in the cost per kWh that some contracts may apply to consumers based on the aforementioned “fine print”, which we do not usually read to ourselves. Facua is already warning about this type of uploads.
How do I know if I am in the free market or the regulated one?
In principle, it is enough for us to take any invoice and go to the CONTRACT DATA section, where its characteristics are indicated, if it is a free or regulated market, if it feels permanent, etc. A) Yes:
But we can also find out directly if we have a contract with any of the following companies, which are the last resort marketers of the usual electricity companies:
- Baser Comercializadora de Reference, SA
- Régsiti Comercializadora Regulada, SLU
- Curenergía Comercializador de Último Recurso, SAU
- Energía XXI Reference marketer
- Comercializadora regulated Gas & Power, SA
- CHC COR, Energy Reference Marketer SLU
- Teramelcor, SL
- Energía Ceuta XXI Comercializadora de Reference, SAU
If so, we will be in the regulated market. The list of marketers that supply the PVPC can be consulted in the CNMC website.
If I am in the free, can I go to the regulated?
Yes, as long as our period of permanence has expired, if it exists, although the company we are with can claim that with the annual renewal the permanence is renewed.
If this is stipulated in our contract, without entering into whether it may be an abusive clause, we should pay the penalty or announce by letter, or by email, that we will not renew the following year and then poll a new company to carry out the change.
If you do not have a permanence contract, just contact one of the reference marketing companies in the list above to register us. The only requirement is that our contracted power is up to 10 kilowatts.
Even so, it should be remembered that the main requirement to see a savings reflected with the PVPC rate is to be aware of the expense we make and focus our consumption on off-peak hours, with less saturation, as well as limiting it in peak hours, by virtue of the new tariff system that penalizes consumption in the most expensive periods.
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