Common front to ask the European Commission to move on the energy-price crisis in Spain

“The solution to this crisis will come via green, social and competition-strengthening measures” says MEP Jordi Solé

On Wednesday, Esquerra Republicana addressed a letter to European VP and Commissioner for Climate Action Frans Timmermans, and the Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson demanding that the EU executive move to face the energy-price crisis that affects not only Spain but the entire European Union.

The letter denounces the exorbitant increase in the price of electricity and the delay in Spain in effecting the ecological transition, which is “essential to reduce emissions into the atmosphere and to curtail dependence on fossil fuels.” “The best way to lower prices is to accelerate the deployment of renewables, which provide electricity at a more competitive, stable cost, and without being subject to geopolitical vicissitudes. Improving energy efficiency will also lower bills because we will consume less,” explained MEP Jordi Solé.

In addition, he pointed to the profits reaped by the electricity utility oligopoly “which does not play by the rules of market competition but rather takes advantage of its political influence, thereby threatening small businesses in the industry.” In this regard, Mr Solé warned that “We are concerned that the escalation of prices will increase the predominant market position of the big energy utilities, leading to the disappearance of the industry’s small businesses, reducing competition and further strengthening the oligopoly.”

Directive 2019/944 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 (Article 5 (3)) stipulates that “Member States may apply public interventions in the price setting for the supply of electricity to energy poor or vulnerable household customers.” That is why the signatories of the letter have called for measures to be put in place to protect the most vulnerable consumers at a particularly difficult time such as this, just when we are beginning to come out of the crisis provoked by the Covid pandemic. “Governments have to put in place more social measures to protect the most vulnerable households from these soaring price hikes. However, these interventions must be well targeted, helping those who really need it, without leading to a covert subsidy for the fossil fuel sector,” added Mr Solé.

“The solution to this crisis will come with green, social and competition-strengthening measures,” concluded the Esquerra Republicana MEP.

  Common front to ask the European Commission to move on the energy-price crisis in Spain

Esquerra Republicana’s stake, a Catalan public energy utility

At the same time in the plenary session of the Catalan Parliament, Esquerra Republicana parliamentary spokeswoman Marta Vilalta denounced the great electricity utility privatization scam by Spain’s major parties, the PP and the PSOE. “They deregulated the system to leave prices in the hands of the market, but have left the market in the hands of their friends,” Ms Vilalta said.
Esquerra has made it clear that this is the public utility legislature, as set out in the investiture agreement and the Government Manifesto, with a Catalan public energy utility that is more necessary than ever in order to “influence market prices” and make the electricity supply a truly public good, according to Esquerra’s spokeswoman.

On his part, Minister of Business and Employment Roger Torrent lamented that the Spanish government’s measures have come late and are “totally useless” because they do not get at the root cause, which is the Spanish energy model and the tariff system. “Through the Consumer Agency, we mean to defend the fundamental rights of the most vulnerable consumers by controlling the utilities in Catalonia,” concluded Mr Torrent.