The Government wants to approve a Royal Decree in which the conditions of supply and contracting of electrical energy are regulated and thus give more protection to the consumer. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition has launched the public consultation prior to the drafting of the text and, according to the portfolio headed by Teresa Ribera, “the experience gained over the last few years has made it impossible to detect a series of regulatory elements in terms of protection of the electrical energy consumer that needs to be addressed”.
Specifically, it points to aspects such as the regulation on the change of supplier, the regulation of the framework of claims for the consumer of electrical energy, or elements linked to the general contracting framework. “They need to adapt to the needs of the sector, in such a way that an adequate balance is ensured between the achievement of energy policy objectives and the necessary protection of the consumer of electrical energy”, he underlines.
However, from Ecological Transition they indicate that other important points could be the development of fraud detection and billing procedures, the development of the regulation related to essential supplies, or the regulation of the unification of access tolls called the single tariff of access). One of the questions included in the text, raised by El Periódico de la Energía, is about how contractual relations between consumers and other subjects can be “improved and streamlined” without resulting in a reduction in consumer rights and their protection.”
“The current regulatory framework in terms of supply and contracting must be adapted to respond to the different challenges and objectives of energy policy defined both at a national, European and international level in recent years. For this reason, it is necessary, first of all, to reform of said regulation through a Royal Decree that recasts, consolidates and updates said matter”, he argues in the explanatory statement.
“Greater consumer empowerment”
The Executive thus focuses on protecting consumers who are most affected by the energy crisis. In October of last year, under the More Energy Security (+SE) plan, it already reinforced the protection of natural gas consumers, limiting the maximum penalty that marketers can set if a customer terminates the supply contract in the first year of validity thereof. In addition, establish the obligation for the company to terminate the additional services that the client had contracted -unless the latter indicates otherwise-.
On the other hand, and with the same idea of granting “greater empowerment” to the consumer, Transición Ecológica launched a public consultation to modify the regulated tariff, but it was put on hold until the European Commission (EC) imposed a revision of the PVPC on Spain. as a condition to approve the Iberian exception.
The current regulated tariff was canceled by the Electricity Sector Law of 2013 and is regulated by Royal Decree 216/2014. Consumers have a contract with reference marketers (COR), designated by the Ministry for Ecological Transition, and a contracted power of no more than ten kilowatts (kW). It is also the rate that allows vulnerable consumers to benefit from the electric social bonus.
In the current context of energy crisis, aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Executive has prepared to reformulate the calculation of the cost of electricity production to provide the PVPC with “greater stability” while preserving the market price signals (hourly) and medium term. The National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) considers that, as proposed by the Ecological Transition, the new regulated electricity tariff will have little effect on its objective of reducing price volatility.
Along the same lines, and after the implementation of the Iberian exception, Ribera has been fighting to make it clear that it is the electric companies that decide to transfer the cost of the mechanism to the consumer. They have the obligation to enter the following wording on the receipt “clearly and unequivocally”, in an independent section within the electricity bill: “Retailers in the free market can voluntarily choose to pass on the import of energy associated with the compensation of the Iberian mechanism regulated by Royal Decree-Law 10/2022, of May 13, within its supply costs, or transfer it in a differentiated way to its consumers. In this case, your marketer has opted for the latter option “.
In addition, they must include a standardized and transparent nomenclature on the average adjustment price. They must also include a link and QR code to the comparator of offers of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), as well as recommendations for saving and energy efficiency.