The Council of Ministers next Friday plans to approve a new royal decree law of urgent measures that will include, among others, the return of all the powers that were stolen by the Popular Party Government to the CNMC, according to business sources. As revealed yesterday in an interview to Five days the minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, the body will set the tolls for electricity and gas for the first time, which will come into effect in January.
This measure requires the approval of a rule with the status of a law that modifies, in turn, several laws passed during the Government of Mariano Rajoy in which this was attributed, or did not recognize, the powers that the European Union grants to the independent regulator. The maneuver cost Spain the opening of an investigation that ended in 2016 with a reasoned opinion for having incorrectly transposed to the legal order the directives on common rules of the internal market of electricity and gas.
To prevent Brussels from shortly executing its threat to lodge an appeal for non-compliance against the Kingdom of Spain before the Court of Justice of the EU and to put an end to the litigation that the CNMC maintains against the Government before the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Ecological Transition has elaborated a proposal of norm to return to the supervisor its powers. Also to fulfill the commitment acquired in June with the Energy Commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete.
In addition to developing the methodology, structure and value of access tolls for electricity and natural gas networks, the Commission will also set the remuneration for gas and light transport and distribution activities and gas plants from now on. liquefied natural gas (LNG). Specifically, the methodology, the remuneration parameters and the remuneration of these activities. On the other hand, the organism that presides over José María Marín, will establish the rules of operation of the organized markets; will approve the compensation of the operators of the electrical systems (REE) and gas (Enagás) and will supervise your investment plans. It will also have powers regarding connection rights or hooks.
To this end, the royal decree-law in motion will change some contents of the Creation Law of the CNMC, of 2013; that of the Electricity Sector and that of Hydrocarbons, these last two modified in 2014 by the Ministry of Industry through a law outside the sector: Metrology. While the first of these rules and the other two (before being modified) recognized, at least, the Commission's power to elaborate the method of calculating the access tariffs, although not its structure or its fixation, that of Metrology supposed one more turn of the screw, when transferring to the ministry even the function of designing the methodology of the tolls.
In this way, the department that he directed at the time José Manuel Soria, together with his Secretary of State for Energy, Alberto Nadal, they were able to push forward, contrary to the criteria of the CNMC, the controversial high voltage tariff of the Basque industry, or euskopeaje, which supposed de facto the breaking of the single tariff in the whole State.
To top it all, the precept, which this body appealed to the Supreme Court, was subsequently developed, in 2017, in the decree that established the organic structure of the defunct Ministry of Energy, led by Álvaro Nadal
Once the new RDL enters into force, the CNMC will establish the tolls and the aforementioned referenda through circular letters. Of course, the body must respect the guidelines of energy policy and, especially, the principle of economic sustainability of the system. If the previous governments were reluctant to leave in their hands the fixing of tariffs was precisely to avoid rises that would harm them politically.
In any case, the so-called charges (other costs of regulated tariffs that are not strictly tolls, such as incentives for renewables, subsidies to the archipelagos or amortization of the electric debt), will continue to fix them and calculating the Government. Among the annual costs of the system, the charges represent 10 billion, compared to 7,000 million tolls.
The royal decree law with energy measures that the government could approve on Friday, will include, according to industry sources, some issues related to the status of the electrointensive industry or measures on the future of cogeneration. The statute is a mechanism that France already applies, according to which, aid is offered to the price of electricity to large consumers in exchange for investment, efficiency and innovation.
The president of the Spanish Association of Operators of Petroleum Products (AOP), Luis Aires, regretted yesterday that the intention of the Government to prohibit in 2040 the sale of combustion engine vehicles, "undermines the principles of freedom and progress" of the sector.
In an act of celebration of the 25th anniversary of the AOP, in which the Minister of Ecological Transition participated, Aires considered that this measure, included in the preliminary draft of the Climate Change Law, goes against "progress and technological neutrality" and , in addition, creates "uncertainty" in the automotive sector.