Congress resurrects two bills to lower electricity after months in the drawer

After more than half a year in the drawer, the Commission for the Ecological Transition of the Congress of Deputies has decided to resurrect ‘in extremis’, before the summer holidays, two bills approved more than a year ago by the Government to reform the structure of the receipt through two channels, on the one hand, cutting the extraordinary income of the due to the rise in the prices of CO2 emission rights and, on the other hand, transferring part of the fixed costs of the electricity bill to gas and fuel.

“They enter the final phase of discussion of amendments in presentation with the idea that they remain approved in June“, says the president of that commission, the deputy of United We Can, Juan Lopez de Uralde. The presentation will be held on June 21 and once approved in committee (the following week) it will go to the Senate, at the earliest fall, which will delay its entry into operation. Both measures aimed to reduce the domestic bill by 15% and of large consumers 5%but the current crisis overrides any previous calculations.

The first of the projects is a standard that shares philosophy with the royal decree law that is valid until the end of the year and that cuts the extraordinary profits of the electricity companies due to the rise in the price of natural gas; but in this case it reduces the extra income of non-emitting plants (hydraulic, renewable or nuclear) due to the rise in the prices of CO2 emission rights. If the average of carbon emissions was 5.83 euros per ton in 2018, in 2021 it reached 53.55 euros and in 2022 it stands at 83.20 euros, but unlike gas, the rise in CO2 it is expected to remain as part of the European decarbonisation goal by 2050.

Of the 43 amendments to the articles of this rule, there is a ten of them advocating the same two issues. A [Partido Popular, PNV, Ciudadanos, Bloque y PDeCat] is that power plants that have fixed-price bilateral contracts, something that the president Endesa, José Bogas, trusted months ago, after what had happened with the analogous norm that cuts income due to the rise in gas. In that case, the Government had to modify the royal decree law weeks after approving it after the stir generated in the sector, headed by the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán.

With the cutback to electricity companies due to the rise in CO2, the Government planned to raise 1,000 million euros initially, which was later reduced to 625 million and without fixed contracts will be further reduced. In the case of the analogous regulation on gas, after eight months in application, Neither the Government nor the CNMC have revealed how much income it has generated and the companies boast that it has not affected their accounts.

the other amendment [Partido Popular, Ciudadanos y PDeCat] is that the cut is made at renewable plants installed before the year 2000, and not earlier than 2003, which is the date that appears in the current text. “The law sets 2003 because that is when the emissions trading in Europebut three years earlier it was when he met through the Green Book that such trade was going to be established, therefore, between 2000 and 2003 investors they already knew that it was going to be applied”, defends the PP deputy, Diego Gago.

Despite everything, the second bill is perhaps more controversial because it faces electrical companies with gas and oil companies by distributing the nearly 7,000 million that electricity customers pay for premiums to renewables (through bill charges) among the entire energy sector gradually over a period of five years, at a rate of 20% per year. It is about creating what is called the National Fund for the Sustainability of the Electric System, which will be nourished mainly with contributions from energy supply companies. The most affected are oil companies that they would assume 43.7%, according to the economic report of the bill, while the electric companies correspond to 31.50%, and the gas companies to 24.80%.

Companies will pass on the cost to their customers. Thus, the oil sector estimated a year ago that fuel would rise by 7 cents at the end of five yearswhich in the current situation of prices close to 2 euros, almost seems like an anecdote, and although there are those who throw their hands up if the measure came into force in the middle of the crisis, others point out that the first year the rise in prices fuels would hardly be noticeable and the drop in light would.

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The FNSSE has 70 amendments. Among them, some [Partido Popular, JxCat y PDeCat] They advocate transferring this cost to the State’s general budgets (PGE), something that the Government ruled out, according to the memory of the draft bill, because “it was not acceptable” “from the point of view of income and expenses”. Also, remove one of the targets of the text which is to “give visible, constant and predictable signals” to boost electricity to the detriment of fossil fuels in the face of energy transitionaccording to the ERC deputy, Joan Capdevilla.

The field industrial is surprised with the reactivation of an initiative that they considered dead, but they trust that it will at least be left exempt industrial gas, instead of establishing compensation as it appears in the current text [PP, PDeCat, PNV y Ciudadanos lo incluyen en enmiendas]. Meanwhile, the independent marketers of electricity, integrated in ACIEask to clarify whether they will have to face a fixed amount each quarter, even if it is not collected, because they consider that it would transfer a “risk” to the sector that “the system should assume.”

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