With the ‘Iberian exceptionality’ about to come out of the Brussels oven, major changes are looming in the electricity market, beyond the limitation of the cost of gas and the price of electricity. The gap between the ten million consumers who have a regulated rate and the 19.8 million who have opted for some of the free market offers will widen. In the first case, because they will see the amount of the receipt that they have paid so far moderated; and in the second, because, as their contracts expire, they will have to incorporate the cost of limiting the price of electricity to the other part of the market.
The massive movement of clients recorded in the last year as a result of the price crisis may not be slowed down, but even paralyzed. Those who are in the regulated market will continue in it, seeing how the price of kWh they pay will no longer be as high as the one they have paid in recent months. This is at least the scenario estimated by electricity market sources consulted by this newspaper.
Up to 1,250,101 households last year opted for some of the dozens of stable rates offered by marketers and decided to leave the PVPC, after registering continuous cost records.
In the background of this question are the characteristics that define the regulated tariff in Spain, a unique model in all of Europe. On the one hand, because it is an electricity contract linked directly to the wholesale price of electricity. “It works as if the price of the bus transport subscription was linked to the daily cost of oil,” explains Luis del Barrio, of Arthur D. Little. This expert believes that the Spanish regulated rate “should have more fixed long-term prices with a basket of futures products.” Although one of its characteristics is that it is the only rate that allows access to the social bonus (the discount of up to 70% for vulnerable households).
A unique model in Europe In September, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition launched a public consultation to address the reform of the PVPC. But after a few weeks it was parked due to the reluctance of several market agents, such as consumer and user associations, opposed to this measure, since it would imply a greater margin for companies. On the other hand, Del Barrio emphasizes that the regulated rate “is too broad”, since all consumers (households and businesses) with less than 10kw of contracted power can benefit from it. For a home, the usual is less than 5kw of power. In this way, by having fewer users, “the truly vulnerable could be better protected.”