Wednesday, August 10

Government, CNMC and REE maneuver to avoid bankruptcies of electricity companies due to the rise in prices

The Minister of Science and Innovation and Third Vice President of the Government, Teresa Ribera, at the conference ‘The Future of Science and Innovation’ in Bilbao.

The spiral of increases in electricity is putting many small and medium marketers in trouble. The exorbitant price rise in recent months, which continues to go from record to record, is causing tensions for many independent power companies that do not have the backing or financial muscle of a large energy group to withstand the blow. National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) and Electric Network They work together in the preparation of a legal reform to alleviate one of the burdens that small electricity companies are encountering, as confirmed by The Newspaper of Spain, a newspaper that belongs to this group, Prensa Ibérica, sources familiar with the preparatory work.

The traders must present guarantees to OMIE -the operator of the electricity market- and to Red Eléctrica -the operator of the electricity system- to demonstrate that they can pay for the energy purchased in the electricity market to supply it to their customers. The electricity companies have to provide payment guarantees that are calculated based on the volume of energy they usually need to meet the demand of their customers and also based on the average price of electricity. In the current context of very strong price increases, the amount of guarantees that companies must provide has also skyrocketed, which is generating liquidity problems in some companies and putting them at financial risk. The Government, CNMC and REE are actively analyzing formulas to reduce these charges that companies bear Among the measures being analyzed is that of shortening the periods in which Red Eléctrica makes the settlements – now quarterly – to adjust the difference between the electricity that the marketers have bought in the electrical system and what they really need to supply to their customers. By reducing the terms, the marketers that comply with their payments and with the required guarantees would have more liquidity by reducing the amount of the guarantees.

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In the same way, with settlements carried out with shorter terms than the quarters, the marketers that fail to comply with their obligations and may end up committing fraud could be detected more quickly and thus reduce the economic hole that they can cause in the electricity system. , the Ministry for Ecological Transition has ordered the disqualification of two marketers for failing to comply with the guarantee system and the CNMC has opened proceedings against seven marketers for the same reason. In addition, in the next few days the CNMC is preparing to initiate proceedings with another fifteen more commercialization companies. In parallel, the Government is also working to encourage electricity commercialization companies to access credit lines and public guarantees from the Official Credit Institute (ICO) to reinforce liquidity hit by the spiral of rising electricity prices.

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