The liberalization of rail transport of travelers has blown up the relationship between Renfe and the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), which have clashed in recent months in aspects such as the routes that the incumbent will have after the opening of the market or the possible transfer of trains to the rivals of the public company. The last confrontation was unleashed this Wednesday, and has been motivated by the use of the facilities of maintenance of the railway operator.
The CNMC has published a resolution related to the rates that Renfe will charge to its future rivals (the French SNCF and the consortium of Ilsa and Trenitalia) for using their facilities. Specifically, this transfer will be carried out by Renfe Mantenimiento, a subsidiary of the public company that has 106 workshops and more than 20,000 assets (buildings, shunting locomotives and various machinery). According to Competition, this subsidiary is unnecessarily inflating the prices it will charge its rivals.
In its resolution, the institution considers that to calculate its costs, «Renfe Mantenimiento has not used the amounts included in its accountingInstead, it has chosen to estimate what these assets would cost today, at their replacement value at current prices ”.
In other words, Competition denounces that although Renfe machines and facilities They are old and are practically written off, the public company wants to charge its rivals as if it had just acquired them. This, in practice «artificially increases the costs of maintenance services and, consequently, it is contrary to the law of the railway sector ”.
The CNMC recalls that this rule establishes that prices for railway facility services "may not exceed the cost of providing them plus a reasonable profit." Therefore, it proposes that this "reasonable profit" takes into account the risk faced by the company for transferring these assets. A risk that in this case is zero.
"For all these reasons, Renfe Mantenimiento must publish the modified rates within two months, and send them to the CNMC, including details of the adjustments made to comply with the Resolution," explains Competencia.
The issue of the workshops has already generated disagreements between both parties in the past. Renfe initially refused to open its workshops to competition. He finally backed down and at the end of last year announced that he would allow future rivals to use his workshops. It then guaranteed that the provision of these services would be carried out in a "transparent, objective and non-discriminatory manner", in order to "provide new operators with the necessary certainty for the future performance of their rail operations."