Ribera urges "be careful" with the tax increase to energy to prevent it from being passed on to consumers

The third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, urged this Thursday to “be careful” with the increase in taxation for energy companies, to prevent consumers from ending up paying for it.

During his speech at the New Economy Forum, Ribera said that in the work that is being carried out "hand in hand" with the Ministry of Finance, it is necessary to "be careful so that a poorly planned design can be transferred to consumers" and to “not hinder” the investment of companies. “It is not a simple operation”, said the vice president, who has not confirmed whether this tax increase will be included in the battery of measures of the Royal Decree-Law that the Government will approve on Saturday to try to contain the high inflation.

Ribera has wanted to "value" the effect of the cap on gas just released or the reduction of the extraordinary benefits derived from the rise in this raw material that the Government launched in the fall to subtract those profits that fell from the sky of the electric companies. But he has acknowledged that in recent months the energy companies have communicated "very bulky figures" of profits "and that generates a certain consternation" in consumers, such as Eurostat pointing out that in Spain "they have profits above the average" of their counterparts European.

He has insisted that a sector such as electricity, "systemic for the economy", "cannot be seen by consumers as a sector that cannot be trusted". "It does not happen in any other country around us" and "it is probably due to the lack of transparency, the lack of explanation." “There is obvious room for improvement.”

Ribera has once again defended the first results of the so-called Iberian solution, although he has asked for time for "a mechanism that has been in operation for a week, so everyone should relax a bit and give a bit of margin before assessing" .

His assessment is "positive", although he has acknowledged that it has been diminished by the heat wave last week and because exports to France have skyrocketed, as this country has its electrical system in "a terrible situation" due to the problems of its nuclear park.

This extra demand has been covered with gas plants, with its corresponding extra cost in compensation for the cap on this raw material. Ribera has reiterated that energy has become cheaper between 25 and 30 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) for consumers of the regulated rate in a week, with respect to the price that would have been given without the existence of the mechanism.

And he has insisted that “it is reinsurance at an extraordinarily complex moment where we can still see very complicated situations”. "The warnings are launched from different authorities and yesterday the International Energy Agency asked Europe to be prepared for a scenario of sudden cutoff of Russian gas," she recalled.

Asked about her rejection two weeks ago to the reduction in VAT on electricity that the Government has now announcedand that goes against the recommendations of the experts and the European Commission, has defended that the situation of record energy prices "is going to continue over time" so "emergency responses" like this one are necessary, which are not enough and must be accompanied by other measures in the medium and long term. “Dedicating ourselves exclusively to questioning taxation” or charging solutions only to the Budgets is “seeing reality in a distorted way”, she has defended.

"Don't speculate"

Asked about a possible postponement of the nuclear blackout due to the next review of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), Ribera asked "not to speculate" about "hypotheses": "If we open or close coal, extend nuclear, they do not form part of the equation", although we must be "aware of what may happen". And he has insisted on his no to fracking, to the search for oil or coal in Spain, because the country is "lucky" not to be in the "dramatic" situation of Germany and Austria, highly dependent on Russian gas, and that "They face a highly probable risk situation" of power cuts next fall-winter. In the case of Spain, she "is striking that we are not happy" to "have that luck."

Ribera has confirmed that "in the next few days" the authorization will be ready for the opening of the El Musel regasification plant (Gijón) to use as a gas store. He assured that "we are going to experience exponential growth in the coming months" in the deployment of electric car recharging infrastructures, and pointed out that Spain has "all the conditions" to be a power in renewable hydrogen. “We are the country in the world where 20% of the world's investment in hydrogen is produced”, she underlined.

He has also urged "learn to generate consensus" to overcome reluctance to build electrical infrastructure in some territories.

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