MADRID – Between January and September this year, the average electricity bill in Spain has become 70% more expensive. The consumer organisation FACUA deems the government’s new measures insufficient and demands more aid for low incomes.
FACUA-Consumers in Action has analysed the evolution of the semi-regulated tariff (PVPC) and concluded that the bill for the average user increased by 70.3% between January and September compared to the same period a year ago.
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The association finds the measures taken so far by the government to help people cope with the increased costs. That is why the organisation demands that the vast majority of families in Spain are eligible for a special social premium.
The average user, with a consumption of 366 kWh per month and a power of 4.4 kW, has already paid €1,259.14 this year, compared to the €739.56 paid in the first six months of 2021.
In 2022, the electricity companies sent the three most expensive bills in history. In March it was €176.73, in August it was €158.30 and in July it was €142.40. Whereas, in September, the average electricity bill was €137.93 lower than in the previous two months. The year-on-year increase was 34.3% last month, compared to €102.71 in September 2021.
Gas price ceiling insufficient as a measure
The application of the gas top (the Iberian exception) and the reduction of VAT on gas from 21% to 5% have slowed down a much larger increase. Nevertheless, FACUA points out that these measures are insufficient. That is why the organisation is calling on the government and the European Commission to take much stronger action to end the brutal speculation in the sector and to protect families from far too high costs.
Claims of FACUA
The marginal auction model in the electricity market is the source of speculation and the disproportionate prices paid by consumers, FACUA warns. The Spanish government should propose a radical change to the system of the European Commission. It is absurd in the view of the consumer organisation for consumers to buy the cheapest energy, which demands that the government of Spain propose a radical change in the system to the European Commission since it decreases the price of the most expensive.
Likewise, the FACUA is urging the government to protect households by declaring them all – except the highest earners – as vulnerable so that they can take advantage of a special social bonus that allows them to obtain huge discounts.
The kWh in September
In September 2021, the price per kWh of electricity averaged 20.51 cents in off-peak hours, 20.54 cents in flat hours and 31.09 in peak hours (including 15.62% indirect taxes). In September, the average price was 33.12 cents in the off-peak hours, 32.56 in the flat hours and 38.45 in the peak hours (including the 5.525% indirect taxes levied on invoices issued since July 1).
The arithmetic means between the three sections this month was 34.71 cents, 36.8% more than a year ago’s 25.38. The weighted average, taking into account the average user’s consumption in each section, was 34.51 cents, 40.2% higher than the 24.62 in September 2021.
What is an average user?
The average user analysed by FACUA has a contracted power of 4.4 kW – the same in peak and off-peak hours – and monthly consumption of 366 kWh. It is a profile that has been drawn up after analysing several tens of thousands of bills for occupied homes.
As regards the percentages of consumption in the three periods of the new billing system, the association has taken as reference the traditional average user profile without time discrimination, published by the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), which uses 45% of the electricity consumption in the off-peak hours, 29% in the peak hours and 26% in the flat hours.
When are the peak hours, off-peak and flat hours?
From Monday to Friday;
- peak hours are 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm
- flat hours from 2 pm to 6 pm and 10 pm to 12 pm
- off-peak hours from 12 pm to 8 am
On Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays, the off-peak hour rule applies 24 hours a day.