The National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) has opened an information file on the difficulties and delays that Spanish consumers are facing in changing their gas contracts from the free market to the regulated rate.
This was indicated on Tuesday by the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aegesen, during an interview on RNE. She explained that these requests for change to the so-called TUR, which energy companies are obliged to attend without applying any type of penalty, have skyrocketed in recent weeks. Due to the proximity of the heating switching on and causing the customer service channels to not be able to meet all the demands.
Gas marketing companies
Although the details of the file opened by Competition are unknown, there are four reference gas marketing companies:
- Gas Power Regulated Marketer (Naturgy), the one with the largest number of customers in this modality
- Curenergía (Iberdrola)
- Energía XXI (Endesa)
- Baser (Total)
The TUR rate – which implies a more meagre benefit for the marketer, as it is regulated – maintained a market share of 19%. This is according to the latest available data from Competition, with a total of 1.5 million customers.
Since November last year, increases in the TUR have been limited to around 5% in each quarterly review. This is despite the fact that the rise in the price of gas would have actually caused an increase in that rate of up to 30%. This relates to some of the worst moments of the energy and price crisis.
The government has now agreed to extend that cap on the regulated gas rate. And, at the same time, it has enabled a new modality (TUR 4). This can be used by communities of residents with a community boiler. Before this group could not use it because of their (communal) high gas consumption.
Consequently, Competition has recently reinforced the vigilance of the energy giants in the face of possible bad practices with consumers. Last week, the CNMC reported a fine of €9.2 million to several marketers of the Audax Group. This fine was for misrepresentation and deception. The Audax marketers encouraged customers who had contracts with rival marketers to become part of its electricity and gas portfolio, from January 2018 to October 2021.