The third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has presented this Monday the balance of the saving measures contemplated in the More Energy Security Plan that the Government presented in August and that has been complemented with new measures throughout the entire second half of the year 2022.
“The set of measures applied throughout the term of the plan has allowed a total saving of 4,577 million euros. Which implies that Spain has paid 41% less energy than Italy, 35% less than France and 36% than Germany”, according to Ribera highlighted in his presentation,
The minister has made special reference to the impact that these stockings have had on vulnerable consumers who together add up to 1.9 million
Vulnerable consumers pay 17% less
The vulnerable have paid 17% less than if no aid had been implemented and the severely vulnerable 28% less. In addition, 2,300 households have been considered vulnerable according to the new criteria that the Government approved last October when it extended the concept of vulnerability to middle-class families, up to a maximum of 28,000 euros of annual income per family.
In the case of the measures applied to gas, especially the cap on the Regulated Tariff (TUR) such as the limitation of the cost of raw material and the reduction of VAT to 5%. They have allowed savings of 41% for those who have TUR 1 with a maximum consumption of 5,000 KWh per year and 37% for users of TUR 2 (mainly homes with heating and SMEs with a consumption of between 5,000 and 15,000 KWh year)
Little acceptance of the TUR of communities
The creation of a TUR for neighboring communities, a measure that was proposed as the star solution to the increase in the price of gas for this group, has not had the acceptance expected by the Government either. At the end of December, only 2,000 communities had subscribed to this rate, although the minister has not explained whether the reasons for this low subscription are due to bureaucratic traves or lack of interest on the part of the recipients. In October, the goal was to reach 1.7 million homes.
Regarding the energy security situation, Teresa Ribera highlighted that Europe has managed to reduce the volume of Russian gas imports to 7% of the total and that it has been able to cover 29% of its consumption with gas from strategic reserves.
Spanish storage in 94%
As of January 11, 2023, the volume of gas reserves in European underground storage stood at 83%. In the Spanish case in 94%. This has been one of the reasons that, according to the minister, have contributed to the fact that the average gas price in December in Europe ended at 100 euros per MWh, compared to the 164 euros MWh that it reached in August.
“A turning point has been seen in this price drop at the time when the European Union put a cap on the prices it was willing to pay for gas. There is a very clear relationship, although it is not the only one. Weather conditions with a milder than expected winter also play a role”, assured Ribera. In turn, the minister has pointed to the weakness of Chinese consumption and the saving measures implemented throughout Europe as causes that have pushed down the demand for gas and, therefore, prices.
Energy exports at maximum
In the Spanish case, the savings measures implemented since August 1 have allowed a 21% drop in natural gas consumption if the balances from energy exports to France and Portugal are excluded, and 23% less compared to the average of the last 5 years in that period including them.
Only in the month of December, natural gas exports to Central Europe through France have increased by 146% compared to November, from 2,026 GWh to 4,991 GWh, being the second most exporting month of the year 22.
The same goes for electricity. December became the second month in which the most was exported to France, 1,462 GWh, 3.2% of the total consumption of the French country, and 23% more than what was exported in November.
Solidarity with Europe, in the foreground
For the year as a whole, the exported balance of electricity with France closed at 6,729 GWh, compared to an average of 2,165 GWh for the last five years.
In the case of Portugal, Spain exported 2,595 GWh of electricity in the whole of 2022, compared to an average of 435 GWh in the measure of the previous five years.
The companies do not respond to the call of the Government
Discarding this energy production to contribute to “European solidarity”, as Teresa Ribera calls it, Spain has managed to reduce the demand for electricity at the national level from August 1 to December 31, 2022, it has decreased by 7, 5% compared to the average consumption of the last 5 years.
Finally, Teresa Ribera regretted that no company was encouraged during the month of December to incorporate the savings measures implemented into the ministry’s website. “I am not saying that they are not doing it, I am only confirming that these plans have not been submitted for publication. The consumption information that we have does show that there has been less consumption. But it would be a shared pedagogy objective to facilitate the measures taken,” he said.