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EU leaders urge the Commission to launch a plan to achieve ‘affordable prices’ for electricity this month | Economy

The European Council wants immediate solutions to the high price of electricity. As late as the end of March. Energy has become one of the Achilles heels of the European Union. And now it is in two ways: one is the dependence of many countries on Russian hydrocarbons; the other, more conjunctural, the high gas prices that are triggering the price of electricity. Hence, the leaders of the Twenty-seven plan to urge the European Commission to “present a plan to guarantee security of supply and affordable energy prices during the next winter season at the end of March”, according to the draft final conclusions. from the summit of Versailles.

This Tuesday the Executive chaired by Ursula von der Leyen opened the door, for the first time, to set limits on electricity prices to curb their impact on homes and businesses. This is one of the Spanish claims for six months in all community forums that, until now, had found little echo. Now, with an energy crisis aggravated by the war scenario in Ukraine, Pedro Sánchez adds allies to his position in the European Council, explain government sources, and it is Germany, which until now has maintained that this situation was circumstantial, the country that begins to lose them.

Community sources explain that the Commission’s plans are now a reform of the electricity market in two stages. A first that allows a limitation of electricity prices, which would be presented at the end of this month, which would go far beyond what is allowed by the current directive, which already allows caps for vulnerable consumers and small businesses. And a second in the medium term, in the middle of May, in which the way in which prices are configured could be reconsidered.

Both are outlined in the communication of the energy plans that the Commission presented this Tuesday, although without giving details. Nor do deadlines appear there, something that is fixed in the declaration finalized by the leaders.

The increase in gas prices in recent months has triggered the electricity bill of households that, in Spain, have regulated prices. This is due to the fact that this energy source is the most expensive and the one that, in the current system, is taken as a reference to determine the prices in the wholesale electricity market. This segment of the market is, in turn, decisive in setting what is paid in regulated contracts, which tend to have the most humble households.

This explains why in the graphs with the evolution of prices it is observed how what is paid for gas and for electricity run in parallel. It is also clear what has happened since the war in Ukraine began: a dizzying rise in both prices. In Spain this Monday the megawatt hour record was broken, 550 euros.

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