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The Government charges Galán for calling regulated rate users “fools” and asks him to rectify | Economy

Nadia Calviño (on the left) and Yolanda Díaz, in Congress.
Nadia Calviño (on the left) and Yolanda Díaz, in Congress.Claudio Alvarez (THE COUNTRY)

The first and second vice presidents of the Government, Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz, came out this Friday in a storm against the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, after he called customers who have a regulated rate “fools”, those who more have suffered from the increase in electricity prices in recent months. “I find the lack of empathy, the lightness and the tone with which such an important issue is discussed for families and citizens and also for the Spanish economy to be amazing,” the also head of Economy charged in an interview on TV3. Díaz, for her part, has called on Galán to “immediately rectify” for “mocking” those most in need.

On Thursday, the chief executive of Iberdrola stated that “only the fools” have remained in the regulated market, while the rest —80%, according to his figures; 60%, according to those of the regulator— “they do not pay the price of pool” or wholesale market, where prices have been skyrocketing since last summer. There is a circumstance that, to access the aid of the electricity social bonus, vulnerable or large families have to have a regulated rate, also known as PVPC.

“This is the time for everyone to put their shoulders to the wheel”, Calviño has reproached him. “Energy companies have a special responsibility at this time, so I urge them to work in favor of the general interest”, he stated while asking the sector to provide the National Statistics Institute (INE) with the data required to adjust the CPI and that inflation reflects the reality of the electricity market. The day before, Calviño had slipped that a company in the sector had not responded to the INE request. According to The confidentialthat power company is Iberdrola itself.

“[El presidente de Iberdrola] he is not just any person. That a person like him makes fun of the most needy in our country is a shame ”, the Minister of Labor has disfigured him, on her part, at a press conference. Díaz has influenced the “increase in the enormous profits” of the three large electricity companies [Iberdrola, Endesa y Naturgy] in recent months. “I think that the public deserves not only Mr. Galán’s rectification, but also a request for forgiveness for his statements,” he remarked. In 2021, Iberdrola obtained a record profit of 3,885 million euros, mainly thanks to the good performance of its businesses in Brazil and the United States, but also boosted by its Spanish subsidiary.

Far from rectifying the words of its president, the electricity company launched a campaign this Friday in which it insists that free market rates “ensure stable prices” and encourages consumers to “sign electricity supply contracts through free contracts for being cheaper than the tariff regulated by the Government”. While 20 million households, those that are in the free market —and negotiate the rate with their supplier on a case-by-case basis— “have seen how their electricity bill is the same as or less than a year ago, (…) the tariff contracts regulated by the Government have as a reference the daily fluctuations of the energy markets, which are unbearable”, he insists.

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“Spain is the only country in Europe whose regulated rate changes every hour, which generates more doubts and uncertainty for customers,” settles Iberdrola, in another step in its particular crusade against PVPC contracts. Until the explosion of prices in the wholesale market, 11 months ago, this type of contract was substantially cheaper than those of the free market, according to the historical series of prices of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC).

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