The vice president for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has advanced this Monday in Congress changes in the regulated PVPC rate to try to stabilize the electricity bill and has ruled out a public intervention to set maximum or minimum prices in the wholesale market, such as and as its coalition partner, United We Can, demands.
Thus, Ribera has stressed that there is an “express prohibition” in Community law to set prices in wholesale markets, establish maximum or minimum prices and also the obligation to apply marginal prices.
“This Government is never going to promote the adoption of measures that we know in advance that are directly contrary to community law, ” the third vice president has settled, who believes that “that is the worst thing that can be done.”
In any case, he has assured that the Government will give a “political battle” in Brussels to achieve mechanisms with which to lower the electricity bill to consumers, even at the expense of the companies’ profits.
It is in this area where the National Sustainability Fund and the mechanisms approved to reduce the so-called ‘benefits fallen from the sky’ have framed. Both measures have just started their processing in Congress.
Minister Ribera has also supported the proposal to create a commission in Congress to study the causes of the constant rises in the price of electricity, an idea raised a week ago by Más País-Equo, Compromís and Nueva Canarias. The vice president has admitted that this situation of successive historical highs in the price of electricity responds to “complex issues for which it is essential to have a correct diagnosis.”
In this sense, he believes that “it would be a good idea to think about the possibility of a parliamentary study commission” that works in a non-permanent way on the analysis of the impact of prices, the mode of operation of the Spanish electricity system, and possible improvements. that could be undertaken.
Ribera thanked the groups that proposed this analysis within Parliament and has expressed the “total availability” of his Department to provide the information and testimonies that are requested.
“No social empathy”
The minister has accused the electricity companies that manage hydroelectric plants of not showing “any social empathy”, since their management has led to the highest price of electricity in more than half the hours in recent months.
“This is not reasonable in any way,” lamented Ribera, criticizing that, although “it is very likely” that this type of practice may be legal, he considers that “no social empathy has been shown.” And, “although it sounds like a joke, empathy is publicly traded,” he said, noting that investors in large companies “respond for principles of social sustainability as well.”
This responds, explained the third vice president, to the possibility of the power plants concessionaires to “internalize the opportunity cost” in an escalation in electricity prices. “We know that it is very likely that what they have done is perfectly compatible with wholesale design, with the possibility of internalizing the opportunity cost,” said Ribera.
He also recalled the emptying of reservoirs , a “scandalous” reduction in flow that, as he explained, “is not ruled out that it is compatible” with the operating conditions of these plants, which would also have legal coverage.
We can: “Propose the same as the oligopoly”
In his reply, the secretary general of the United We Can parliamentary group, Txema Guijarro, has assured that community regulations ” do not prevent the price of nuclear power from being regulated .” “It precisely says that being a natural monopoly, it is possible to regulate. France is going that way,” said the deputy, who also recalled another of the proposals of the confederal group, that of promoting a public energy company.
Regarding the proposal to “stabilize the bill,” he pointed out that it is “very similar” to the proposal put forward by “the electric lobby”, which in his opinion “works openly against the democratization of the system.” “I suppose it will stabilize to the downside. If not, I don’t know how funny it would be,” he said.
“What the vice president proposes is the same as the electricity oligopoly proposed a few days ago,” criticized the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Pablo Echenique, who believes that “if the electricity oligopoly proposes it, it is difficult to believe that it can serve to lower the bill. ” “They never say ‘lower’, they say ‘stabilize’. Of course, you can stabilize at high prices,” he added.
“In fact, one of the ways that electricity companies have to make money, in addition to manipulating the market, is to offer ‘stable’ free market bills in which they always win and you always lose,” he said.