The savings for consumers with the gas cap exceeds 16% in their first month

first month of gas stop and first conclusions of how it is working for consumers of electricity with a regulated rate. This July 15 marks the first full month since the entry into force of the Iberian solution and the data indicates that the positive impact for those who benefit from this cap exceeds 16%. An evolution that is within the range of between 15% and 20% that the Executive anticipated.

This limit to mitigate the impact of gas prices on the electricity bill has been clearly influenced by the evolution of this raw material, which, in the last month, has doubled its cost in international markets. It has also been conditioned by the two heat waves in June and July. Second wave in which the Iberian Peninsula is still immersed. In fact, in the first week of the gas cap, the high temperatures already influenced the impact of this measurewhich placed the savings of affected consumers at around 10%, practically at levels similar to those of recent days.

High temperatures, above 40 degrees in much of the territory, which lead to less renewable energy production and greater electricity demand for air conditioning equipment. In addition, the production of electricity with gas is triggered and, therefore, the effect of the measure is diluted because it increases the compensation that must be paid to generators for the real price of gas in the market.

This percentage of savings reached its highest levels last week, since it was above 30%. A trend that has been mitigated with the start of this second great heat wave of the summer. Specifically, in the last week, that percentage has been reduced considerably, to between 9% and 12%, according to provisional calculations prepared by elDiario.es. It must be taken into account that this is an estimate of the savings obtained from the wholesale market price that would have resulted if this measure had not been implemented.

Specifically, the calculation is made using a mathematical formula based on the data published by the Iberian Electricity Market Operator (OMIE) and the daily price of the Iberian gas market (Mibgas). Based on the figures published by both organizations, the 40 euros at which the gas cap is currently set is subtracted from the daily reference price of Mibgas and the result is divided by 0.55, which is the estimated average yield of the combined cycle plants established by the Royal Decree that approved the so-called Iberian solution.

For this reason, the evolution of gas prices, shot up again in the last month, is relevant; and the number of consumers who have to finance the ceiling, as they are the beneficiaries of the measure, which is relatively low. They account for just over 40% of electricity demand and are those that index their contracts to the wholesale market price (pool), such as households with the voluntary price for small consumers (PVPC) and about 70% of industry consumption .

Since last week, the price of the 'pool' has remained above 140 euros and for much of the week it has left behind the barrier of 150 euros MWh. In parallel, the compensation that must be paid to generators for the real price of that raw material has also skyrocketed, which on Saturday was close to 111 euros and, throughout this week, has remained invariably above of the 140 euros.

In this way, the total price of gas cap beneficiaries stood at 300 euros this Thursday. A figure that is below the 329.9 that the MWh marked on the same day in Germany, the 397.5 euros in France and the 438.6 in Italy.

The heat wave that is affecting the Iberian Peninsula has also led to an increase in electricity generation through combined cycle power plants, which use gas. For example, this last Tuesday, these plants represented 40% of the total generation, while wind power stood at 12.5% ​​and photovoltaic did not reach 11%, according to the data published by Red Eléctrica. If these data are compared with those reached on July 7, before the heat wave, that day, the combined cycle accounted for 18% of generation, wind 26% and photovoltaic 12.2%.

This demand for gas for electricity generation is skyrocketing. The manager of the gas network, Enagás, has verified that on Wednesday the historical record for gas demand to generate electricity, of 803.8 GWh, was exceeded. Thus, the previous maximum of 770 GWh reached on June 16, in the previous heat wave, was exceeded.

"This strong increase in the demand for natural gas for electricity generation has been motivated mainly by the high temperatures recorded due to the effect of the heat wave, which implies an increase in electricity consumption, accompanied by low hydraulic, wind, and also low generation. photovoltaic and solar thermal energy (due to the haze), as well as an increase in electricity exports", Enagás breaks down.

And neither for the immediate future nor for the next few months is a respite expected in international gas prices. The current price of gas in the Dutch market exceeds 175 euros MWh, when a month ago it was around 85 euros. A situation that, even more so if Russia cuts Europe's gas tap, could worsen.

The Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Theresa Rivera, pointed out this Wednesday that forecasts are already being considered in France that place the price of electricity close to 1,000 euros. In this sense, the OMIP, the operator of the Portuguese electricity market, publishes the estimates of future prices of the European markets, which place the cost in France at 865 euros in the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, in Spain it figures at 148.05 euros MWh in that final stretch of the year, similar to the Portuguese case. In the case of Germany, it raises the price to 443 euros.

This cap on gas is, so far, the main measure that the Executive has taken to contain the price of electricity. However, Minister Ribera has indicated in recent days that, in the coming months, additional measures could be taken for families and consumers who are feeling the impact of inflation the most. "We are going to continue to be very attentive, very aware of very vulnerable families in the coming months," she said in an interview on Onda Cero.

In parallel, there is the development of the new tax on electricity companies. whose details are yet to be defined, although it will follow schemes similar to those adopted in other European countries, such as Italy. "More than increasing benefits and distribution of dividends, we should concentrate on two things," Ribera said in the aforementioned interview. The first, "price containment". "It seems reasonable to any company that their customers are satisfied and their customers are having a very bad time right now. And secondly, dedicate resources to be able to accelerate what allows them to continue making profits in the coming years, because the electrification of our energy system is going to be fundamental. There is room for both things," he emphasized.

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