The third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has described as “scandalous” the situation suffered by the reservoirs of Ricobayo (Zamora) and Valdecañas (Cáceres), both managed by Iberdrola , before the “drastic “reduction of its waters and has ensured that the utility is already being investigated, to which a letter has been sent” to tell it that this cannot be.
“It is not reasonable to empty a reservoir in practically 6 weeks as has happened in Zamora,” the third vice president denounced in an interview in La Sexta . Given this, the minister has advanced that article 55 of the Water Law will have to be applied, where it is foreseen that for extraordinary reasons limitations can be introduced to the emptying of the flow of the reservoirs.
Ribera explained that this situation has to do with the concession clauses , which probably did not foresee an intervention to guarantee ecological and minimum flows in the reservoirs, but rather a volume of water granted per year. “That is why the company justifies that they are complying with all the requirements and this seems scandalous to me,” he remarked.
The minister has argued that the water cannot remain in a maximum allowed annual volume without any type of criterion regarding its distribution and use over time and therefore managed directly by the concessionaire company according to “what is economically at all times suits them best. ” “This is legitimate but it is not reasonable for it to happen, so we want to intervene as soon as possible,” he pointed out.
Ribera: “The company justifies that they are complying with all the requirements and this seems scandalous to me”
Ribera has remarked that the Government has contacted the company and has announced that the Secretary of State for the Environment will have a meeting next week with the mayors of the affected areas. “We cannot allow this to happen. Water is a scarce commodity as important for the well-being of families and economic activity, as is electricity,” he remarked.
Precisely organizations such as Facua-Consumidores en Acción have asked the National Competition Market Commission (CNMC) this Friday to investigate the “drastic” reduction of water in case the company could be taking advantage of the situation of the new rates and the increase in cost of the light to drain more water than it should and thus multiply its hydroelectric production.
Short-term measurements with light
Asked about the short-term measures to alleviate the rise in electricity, which this week has marked several historical highs, the minister has assured that the Government will maintain the social shield and an “adequate” tax treatment.
It should be remembered that the Government approved a few months ago the reduction of the VAT on electricity from 21% to 10% until the end of the year, as well as the suspension of the 7% tax on electricity generation for three months, until September.
Ribera has insisted that the current high price of electricity cannot be resolved “overnight”, nor with a decree in the Official State Gazette (BOE). “To say that this is resolved with a decree law is to generate a false expectation,” said Ribera after ensuring that “whoever says that there is some measure that can change things from one day to the next, with a publication in the BOE of something magical, either he has no idea what he’s talking about or he’s doing cheap demagoguery. ”
Given the high price of electricity due to the high price of CO2 and gas, the minister said that the marginalist market does not respond to a reality in which there are different technological costs. “This debate must be opened in Europe,” he insisted.
A public energy company?
The third vice president this week slipped the possibility of creating a public company to manage the hydroelectric concessions that are being released, in order to reduce the electricity rate.
Today he has detailed that in Spain there are a significant number of hydroelectric operations, more than 200, whose concession ends throughout this decade , two of them in two years.
However, he recalled that the country already has hydroelectric plants managed by hydrographic confederations, so now the Government intends to “work and update the conditions”, and see if a public company will be created or are managed directly by the hydrographic basins.
“The conditions under which the hydroelectric concessions were signed have nothing to do with the situations now, so we are studying how to better manage it and do it centrally,” he clarified.
The minister has pointed out that, after addressing this issue, the public company would be subject to the same European rules , so it could not be sold below the price, because that would be considered by the European Commission as state aid, nor could it have a size as significant as other determining operators could have in the short term.