The Government will approve in the coming weeks the new regulated electricity tariff , the Voluntary Price for Small Consumers (PVPC), and the electricity companies have been generally satisfied with the final version, but they are also taking advantage of the reform to claim the third vice president, Teresa Ribera , to recover the costs for face-to-face service to customers of the regulated rate and review the costs for the commercialization of this rate for the trienniums from 2019 to 2021 and from 2022 to 2024.
The electricity companies want to take advantage of the reform of the PVPC tariff to recover from the State what it costs them to provide a service to consumers who do not contract the supply of electricity in the free market, but in the regulated market, in contracts that only small companies can take advantage of. consumers and vulnerable consumers through the four ‘reference marketers’ -Endesa, Iberdrola, Naturgy and Repsol-. They sell electricity on the free market, but change their name to also offer a regulated rate that, especially until last year, was substantially cheaper.
According to the law, electricity marketers have the right to be compensated for the costs that they generate, for concepts such as direct customer service , such as contracting costs , billing and collection or customer service, which now require that are updated or directly “recover”. Currently, sources from the sector explain that the remuneration they receive from the Government is not updated with the real costs and is insufficient to cover all the costs generated by being in contact with consumers who want to contract or who have the regulated rate of the light.
This was stated a few days ago by the Association of Electric Power Companies ( AELEC ) in a statement in which, after knowing the final version of the decree that will establish the new way of calculating the PVCP rate, it assessed “positively” that the Ministry of Transition Ecológica has taken their requests into account in the final draft that was sent to the Council of State last week , which plans to issue an opinion around April 20, so that it can then be approved by the Council of Ministers.
In general terms, the electricity companies have seen their claims recognized but they make two points about the economic costs that their obligation to offer and manage the regulated tariff caused them in the past and another new cost that they will have to face with the reform of the PVPC, which It will make all the companies in the electricity sector and also the consumers who contract it bear the cost of the social bonus , as do the companies and consumers of the free market.
In the first case, the electric companies believe that the draft of the decree of the new PVPC “can be improved” so that the Government “updates” the costs incurred by the reference marketers for having to offer the regulated rate. According to the law, those with more than 100,000 customers throughout the country on an annual average are obliged to offer the regulated rate.
Currently, there are four distributors – Endesa, Iberdrola, Naturgy and Repsol – that offer the regulated electricity tariff under different names -Energía XXI, Curenergía, Gas Powee and Régsiti, respectively-, which offer services such as telephone or face-to-face attention , which generally It is given in the same offices of the electricity marketers in the free market.
And these expenses are what the companies claim from the Government, either by updating their remuneration established by law for this and other concepts linked to the PVPC or by simply “recovering” the expenses for personal attention to the customers.
“Update the prudently incurred costs of marketing as established by the regulations, pending the review of marketing costs for the periods 2019-2021 and 2022-2024″, claim the reference marketers of the PVPC. “Additionally, the need to recover the costs associated with the face-to-face customer service channel is reiterated,” they add.
As they explain from the AELEC, “the marketers of the regulated activity incur expenses to be able to carry out the regulated activity that the law requires of them. Among others, the one related to the face-to-face customer service channel”, which they would like to recover taking advantage of the imminent reform of the PVPC tariff.
Social bonus to the PVPC
On the other hand, given the imminent approval of the new regulated tariff -which, however, will not come into force until 2024-, the electricity marketers insist on opposing, as they have been doing for years, having to bear part of the cost of the social bonus, the discount of between 65 and 80% of the electricity bill for vulnerable households and, for the moment, all large and severely vulnerable families.
One of the novelties of the reform is that, as in the free market, both production, transport, distribution and commercialization companies of the PVPC rate, as well as consumers depending on their electricity consumption, will bear the costs of financing the social bonus, something that the marketers already rejected in the free electricity contracts and that they also reject in the regulated tariff.
“It is considered that the cost of financing the social bond should not correspond to any of the subjects that operate in the electricity sector -and, among them, to the CORs [reference marketers]- but, because they are public policies, should financed through also public instruments, like the thermal bonus “, warns the AELEC, in relation to the annual payment received by households that have a social bonus to cover part of the cost of heating and hot water and that, unlike of that, it comes from a direct game of the General State Budgets .