An extraordinary Council of Ministers will approve this Friday the cap on gas

Electricity bill. / RC

The Government will authorize the limit on the energy price after the authorization from Brussels, where they will re-examine the decree that is published in the BOE for its definitive endorsement

Jose Maria Waiter

Finally, it will be this Friday, May 13, when the Government approves the limit on the price of gas in the wholesale market, within the package of the 'Iberian exceptionality' agreed with Portugal, and of which both countries received preliminary acceptance yesterday so that draft their respective normative decrees.

In the case of Spain, the Executive will convene an extraordinary Council of Ministers for three days, after this Tuesday it has been technically impossible to incorporate the measure into the order of the day. This is clarified by sources from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, where they recall the complexity of the norm on which they do not want to leave loose ends.

Because once the decree is published in the BOE, the document will return to the European Commission so that, this time, it will give it the definitive green light, if it complies with the conditions and terms demanded by Brussels from Spain and Portugal.

This same Monday, the European Commission has authorized the proposal presented by Spain and Portugal to limit the price of gas in the wholesale market in order to moderate the price of electricity paid by 10 million households covered by the regulated tariff. The approval (a provisional letter of agreement) comes a month and a half after arduous negotiations between the two countries, before last Friday they presented the final text to Brussels, adapted to community legislation and also to the demands of the rest of the European partners.

Now it is the Council of Ministers that will have to approve the decree that sets the conditions and technical details of a measure that will be much more complex than it apparently implies: capping the price of gas in the wholesale market at 40 euros/MWh in a first moment, to reach 50 euros/MWh in the rest of the period, for a maximum period of 12 months. By limiting this reference, the price of the electricity pool could fall to around 130 or 140 euros/MWh, compared to the more than 200 euros/MWh in which it has been moving in recent weeks. The bill would be reduced by 35%.

Among the details that remain to be known is the financing of the measure. From Ecological Transition they choose to "distribute" the cost, which will imply raising the free market rates when they are renewed.

wait longer

In any case, users of the regulated market (PVPC) will not notice the effects of the measure until well into June. The billing cycles of the electricity companies that expire in the coming days will hardly be able to collect the foreseeable moderation in the price of electricity and it will not be until next month when the first effects of the measure will be noticed, although the Executive hoped that the text would be ready at the beginning of May, a circumstance that has finally not been possible.

The limitation of light has cost numerous negotiations between the EU Member States, especially until the last European Council at the end of March, in which Spain and Portugal fought to apply their 'Iberian exceptionality', arguing that they could limit the price of gas, without this implying a distortion of the community energy market, since the interconnections of the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of the continent are minimal, barely 3% of the total.

Throughout the process, the electricity companies have been opposed to applying this measure as the formula to stop the explosion in the price of electricity, especially after the invasion of Ukraine, when the 'pool' reached 544 euros/Mwh, historical record. The companies consider that the cap will distort the market, that it will slow down the signing of long-term contracts, that it implies leaving the euro in terms of the energy market and that consumers will ultimately pay for it. Pending the final wording of the decree, the sector awaits its content and does not rule out resorting to Justice, as they have done on other occasions.

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