The electric companies denounce that the ‘Iberian exception’, colloquially known as the cap on gas, has implied that some 20 million customers who had signed their contracts with a fixed-rate price on the Free Market have paid an extra cost of around 2,000 million euros. euros on their electricity bills. “The measure that the Government claims as a great achievement that has lowered the price of electricity for Spanish consumers has a ‘B-side’ that the Spanish have been in charge of paying for,” the same sources say.
From the sector they indicate that the implementation of the mechanism has meant a 180 degree turn in terms of the export of electricity to France. It is true that Spain has become a net exporter of electricity with the French country, but not only for this reason, but also because it has had almost half of its nuclear park stopped for several months. In addition, exports continue to skyrocket with the ‘Iberian exception’ inactive since February due to the expiration of the gas price quote.
Specifically, the data collected by the sector indicates that consumers in the free market are in France, almost 600 million in Portugal and another 50 in Morocco, countries with which Spain has an electrical interconnection. “These countries have arbitrated with the Spanish market, buying the cheapest energy,” they point out from the sector.
Who pays for the mechanism?
According to the regulations, the cost of compensation for the Iberian exception is distributed among all users of the electricity market, except in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla and in contracts with a fixed price that are prior to April 26, 2022. because by having a client and company an agreed rate they would not be benefiting from the measure. In other words, the cost of compensation is borne by the contracts with a regulated rate, and the contracts with a fixed price begin to be passed on when they have to renew. That is when the electric companies raise the price of the same in the proportional part that corresponds to them.
On regulated market bills, this charge is included in the energy price, while on free market bills it is shown on a separate line. In both cases, the import for each kWh consumed is the same. It must be taken into account that the cost of the gas cap is variable and depends on the day, so it cannot be calculated what the final price of the invoice or total rate will be, including this amount. Endesa requested that free market contracts that were reviewed in accordance with the CPI be exempted from compensation. However, the Competition rejected the appeal.
On the opposite side, sources from the Ministry for Ecological Transition point to La Información that during the period in which the Iberian mechanism has been applied, between June 15, 2022 and February 2023, France imported electricity from Spain to meet its needs, because the price of the wholesale electricity market in Spain and Portugal was 34% lower than in the neighboring country, including the adjustment cost received by the gas plants. These imports, in turn, generated an increase in the so-called interconnection congestion rents, which have been used to pay part of the adjustment for gas plants.
The destination of the income from the interconnection is established by different European regulations. The management of the interconnection auctions has a cost and payments to the subjects on a day-to-day basis. Once these amounts are settled, the surplus is shared 50% between Spain and France and is used to cover network construction costs to reduce congestion.
Active until December
“With the application of the Iberian mechanism, exceptionally, the congestion rents are used to reduce the cost of adjustment to the gas plants. In the event that at a certain hour the price of the interconnection becomes saturated in the export direction, the so-called decoupling of markets, that is, one price appears in Spain (lower) and another in France (higher). expensive ) The Spanish central will receive the Spanish price (lower) and the difference between the two is the congestion rent, which will reduce the cost of the adjustment”, they explain from the portfolio directed by Teresa Ribera.
According to Ecological Transition, between June and February, the income from the interconnection paid by the marketers and French consumers discovered more than 600 million euros, which reduced the cost of adjusting the gas plants. “In total, the ‘Iberian exception’ has provided savings of 5,106 million euros to Spanish consumers, in addition to stabilizing the prices of the electricity futures markets and helping to contain inflation,” they say from the Executive. The mechanism will be in force until December 31 “as an insurance that will be applied against possible increases.” The Popular Party has already said that it will eliminate it if Alberto Núñez Feijóo reaches La Moncloa after the general elections of 23-J.