The Supreme Court estimates a new appeal for the Castor payments of 2016 | Economy

The Supreme Court estimates a new appeal for the Castor payments of 2016 | Economy



The ministerial orders with which the previous Government ordered to pay the expenses of Castor, the failed submarine gas storage located opposite the coast of Castellón, they fall one by one in the courts. The Supreme Court has annulled Castor's compensation for 2016, estimating a resource from the Catalan employers' association Cecot. The ruling, to which EL PAÍS has had access, requires the return of more than 100 million euros.

Of these, 15.7 million correspond to the amount received by Enagás for its maintenance of the facility, which remains closed after cause hundreds of earthquakes in 2013 and not get to open. Another 80 correspond to the annual invoice for Castor's investment (1,350 million euros in total) and another 4,5 were paid to Escal UGS (the then owner of Castor) for the maintenance costs generated before it took care of it. Enagás. The sentence annuls article 4 of the ministerial order published in the BOE at the end of 2015.

The ruling of the Supreme Court invokes two previous judgments in the same sense: one concerning the 2015 payments that Cecot also won recently and another that gave the reason to the Catalan Government, which also requested the annulment of the 2016 payments. The Administration, indicates the decision of the court, must "adopt the appropriate measures to proceed to the reimbursement of the amounts paid under the order that is declared null ". Both Cecot and the Generalitat have challenged the tolls and gas charges of recent years in the part that affects Castor's payments. So far they have won and those of 2015 and 2016 have been canceled.

The Constitutional Court declared at the end of 2017 unconstitutional and void several articles that referred to these costs for the way in which the previous Government ordered that they be paid. The Executive of Mariano Rajoy approved a royal decree-law in 2014 which established both the compensation to the owner of the Castor warehouse (1,350 million euros) and the payment to Enagás for maintaining the failed gas installation. The Constitutional Court considered that it should not be done through a decree-law, because there was no situation of "extraordinary and urgent need".

After that ruling, Enagás has not collected the invoice for the years 2017 and 2018 and now it will have to return the 2015 and 2016. However, the Government has included in the order proposal that regulates gas tolls for 2019 the retribution for the maintenance of the warehouse. These collection rights include both the invoice for 2019 (8.7 million euros) and those for 2017 and 2018 (for the same amount).

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