The Secretary of State for Energy, Sarah Aagesen, reviewed developments over the first five months of the Energy Contingency Plan application this Friday. As of February, the last full winter month, gas consumption in Spain has dropped by 19% and electricity by 7%, compared to the same period the previous five years. Reserves in the EU stand at 68%, while Russian gas imports remain at 6%. With regard to consumption throughout the winter, 28% of gas demand in the EU has been met from its own storage, while the rest has come from imports. “Storage in Europe is at an all-time high,” Agasen assured at an event in Madrid organized by the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
In the case of Spain, underground gas storage stands at 78%. According to the Secretary of State, consumption over the entire winter was, “at most”, a third of the total stockpile. The average price of energy in February was 52 euros per MWh, which is 68% lower than in August, the most important month for prices. In this sense, Agnes has praised the operation of the cap on gas, pointing out that “the markets have reacted to the fact that Europe is not prepared to pay a price”.
The so-called “+Energy Security Plan” was launched last October to cushion the effects of inflation and price rises resulting from the war in Ukraine, which has sparked an energy crisis. The lines of action are focused on reducing the amount of bills and achieving lower electricity and gas consumption. For this, measures such as reducing consumer bills through, for example, the thermal social bonus, technical modification of public lighting to make it more efficient, reduction of gas consumption or promotion of self-consumption in households was implemented. ,
Regarding the reduction in consumption, which was one of the pillars of the control plan, natural gas demand declined by 19% between August and February without considering exports. This is the most marked decrease compared to the same period in the previous five years. For its part, electricity demand decreased by 7%.
Last Resort Rate (TUR)
The Ministry of Ecological Transition has estimated the impact of consumer protection measures at 5,506 million euros. In the case of Last Resort Tariff (TUR) for gas, Aagasen has said that the savings on bills is 40% compared to what consumers who are not covered by this regulation would have to pay. Till February, 25 lakh people have taken advantage of these rates. This number has increased by half a million people since June, with a significant peak in January, when more than 200,000 new infections were added to the regulated rate.
In the case of neighboring communities, 964 beneficiaries have been added to the February figures, taking the total to more than 5,000. TUR is much less common in owners’ communities due to difficulty in agreeing with neighbors or processing difficulties at power companies.
The Secretary of State closed the event by appealing to the need for electricity market reform: “Ultimately, energy is systemic and is needed in everything. If we want a competitive industry, we need to reform the market. In previous appearances, Agnes has already hammered out the idea, calling for a regulation that stabilizes prices and increases the weight of green hydrogen and biogas.
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