The companies suffer stock market crashes and ask Ribera to use this money to reduce the electricity bill, which in May registered its highest level in 32 months.

The President of the Government, Pedro Snchez, together with the Vice President of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera.

The public accounts will receive this year a multimillion-dollar extra income due to the rising cost of CO2 that is helping to put the price of electricity in Spain through the roof and has become a serious threat to the economic recovery. This is one of the great paradoxes of the electricity sector: electricity becomes more expensive and hits the income of families and companies while the Treasury receives more from the collection of taxes such as VAT and from the auctions of CO2 emission rights that Europe coordinates.

The “cost to pollute” It has skyrocketed in recent months driven by the acceleration that European countries have given to the ecological transition and financial speculation with these rights. In figures, its price has risen in a year from 19 to 52 euros per ton of CO2.

These rights are assigned free of charge to polluting sectors in an amount that is gradually reduced year by year and, on the other hand, they are auctioned by Brussels, which then distributes the collection among the different member countries that participate in the process. As the rights are cut at a higher price than companies reduce their emissions, their price rises. Spain has about 50 million tons, Therefore, taking into account the current price of CO2 and the one set by the futures between now and the end of the year, their income will exceed the total for the year. 2,200 million euros, twice what has been entered so far.

The electricity sector asks the Government to take advantage of this peak in collection to help households and companies to finance the regulated costs of the electricity system and reduce the cost of the bill. In this way, companies respond to the new cut that the vice president of Ecological Transition wants to approve, Teresa Ribera, on the income from its nuclear and hydroelectric plants to try to make electricity cheaper. The Government’s argument is that these facilities are benefiting from a very high market price without having to bear the cost of CO2 in their accounts as they are clean technologies from the point of view of emissions.

Ribera’s plan is to elevate this mechanism through a preliminary bill to the Minister council of this same Tuesday and that it is ready in the first half of 2022. Industry sources estimate the adjustment at around 1,000 million euros with current CO2 prices, something that made the main electricity companies on the stock market tremble yesterday. Endesa, With a less diversified business and more focused on Spain, it took the worst hit with a drop of 5.71% in just one day. Iberdrola and Acciona, the other two major victims, registered falls of 2.7%.

The measure was highly questioned by investors and analysts, to whom an intervention of this type in the electricity market takes them back to the times when regulatory swings were frequent in the sector. “Uncertainty”, in this sense, was one of the words that could be read the most in some of his comments, both because he had learned about the measure through the press and because of his doubts that a mechanism of this type would be endorsed by Europe. Ribera had so far shielded himself in European regulations to avoid touching the operation of the wholesale electricity market.

Analysts and the electricity companies themselves also warned of the impact that this measure may have on meeting the ecological transition objectives committed by the Government to the European Commission. On the one hand, the CO2 penalty sends a negative signal against two zero-emission technologies that should play a key role in supporting the deployment of renewables in the coming years. On the other hand, the funds that are investing in the large electricity companies and the companies themselves are the same that are investing in the installation of the renewable energies that the country needs in its ‘green conversion’.

The sharp rise in CO2 prices is one of the factors behind the strong increase recorded by the receipt in May. The month closed yesterday at its highest record since September 2018 and we would have to go back 10 years to find a spring in which the price of the kilowatt hour has been so expensive. Five months after starting 2021, an average user accumulates a bill 22% higher than the same period of the previous year.

The sharp increase in the bill coincides with the entry into force this Tuesday of a new electricity bill system that threatens to further increase the level of ignorance of households about how their rate is structured and why it rises or falls at the end of the month . From this moment on, the price of electricity will change significantly depending on the time of day it is consumed. It will be cheaper on weekends and much more expensive from Monday to Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., in the morning, and 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in the afternoon.


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