Now that we are in World Cup times, I remembered a sentence by Fernando Ónega opening a television news program a few minutes after the Spanish team was eliminated in the quarterfinals: “we played like never before and lost like always”. My commitment is to prevent all of us who participate in the electricity issue —companies, regulators and customers— from doing our best and the end result not being beneficial for society as a whole. That we have not been able to promote the energy transition and that an essential service with enormous added value such as electricity becomes a tool for division and not for development.
Consumers receive a lot of information and instructions about energy and about electricity in particular. Information related to the rise in prices of energy raw materials, mainly gas and, derived from this, the wholesale price of electricity. Due to the complexity of the electricity sector, its regulation and its operations, it is not easy to explain to the public what is happening.
There are slogans that, however much they are repeated, are not true. Obviously, at Endesa we respect all opinions, as well as any critical position. Given this, our position has been and continues to be to explain, propose and build spaces of understanding.
The source of the problem is the price of gas and any measure that does not tackle the problem at its source is not going to reverse the situation. The solutions must be agreed upon in Europe and apply to all member countries.
We are living unprecedented moments that require bold and constructive responses. We have been working for months in a complex energy environment, proposing solutions with a constructive approach to institutions, at the same time that we are advancing in the energy transition plan that Spain needs.
I want to emphasize that the activity of electricity companies is regulated by the institutions and organizations that govern the electricity market. Also that our accounts are evaluated and reviewed by independent auditors. They are public accounts and in them a reasonable profitability is accredited and inferior to other industrial sectors if we take the average reference during the last 5 years. A return that can also be consulted in the Central Balance Sheet of the Bank of Spain.
Endesa is one of the industrial companies that invests the most in Spain. An investment that generates employment, which makes possible the deployment of renewable electricity generation infrastructures; as well as intelligent distribution networks to successfully manage the wave of electrification that will accelerate due to the increase in self-consumption, electric mobility or the use of batteries.
We allocate 45 percent of the profits to taxes. We are one of the largest taxpayers in Spain. We work with more than 3,600 companies, most of them small Spanish companies. We directly employ more than 9,200 people. Purchases made from suppliers reached 3,240 million in 2021.
We are the electricity company that distributes and sells the most energy in Spain, and we carry out our activity within a sustainable framework that has allowed us to be the vertically integrated electricity company with the least greenhouse gas emissions in the Iberian Peninsula.
I see every day employees of the sector work to maintain and modernize the distribution network; build wind farms and photovoltaic plants; operate and guarantee the safety of nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants or combined cycle plants; Hundreds of them pending any incident in the control centers, many others intervening to restore the supply when illegal connections occur that overload the network and leave entire neighborhoods without light. An honest and professional work to ensure that there is no lack of energy.
Even so, we also make mistakes, we make mistakes, we fail in many things. Companies are essentially people and people often make mistakes. What sets us apart is the ability to recognize, act and learn from mistakes because our reason for being is our customers and the service we provide to society.
We live in complex times and we need to work constructively and boldly to ensure a renewable, affordable and accessible electric energy model. The solution involves public-private collaboration. It would be necessary and pertinent to encourage a great energy pact to correct the errors of the current model and promote what we already do well.
It is important to put five key elements on the board to address the problem constructively: first, help vulnerable customers; the second, a pricing model according to the moment; the third, predictability and legal certainty to attract investment and undertake the energy transition; the fourth, a regulatory model that favors the deployment and digitization of distribution networks; and the fifth, agility in the administrative permits for the deployment of renewables and electric vehicle charging points.
In short, do not miss the train of the transition, do it with the social sensitivity that the current situation requires, but also do it without gripping the socioeconomic engine that companies represent. We must do it from the understanding between government, companies and civil society. Only in this way can we affirm that we are playing like never before and, this time, we all win as always.
José D. Bogás is CEO of Endesa.
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