Small marketers are suspicious of the reduction of guarantees of the CNMC
The gas price crisis not only has as a consequence its high cost for final consumers, but also for the companies that market this service, which They denounce their expulsion from the market at the hands of the large electric companies. After the European Commission assumed the need to reform the marginalist system of electricity pricing, its challenge now involves trying to preserve free competition in the energy sector.
The continuous transfer of consumers to the regulated electricity and gas markets, which offer better rates as they are subsidized by the Government, clashes with the liberalization of the market regulated by the competition agencies. The almost exclusive presence of the large companies in the sector in the markets regulated and consumer attitude is drowning the small marketersgreatly affected by the high guarantees required to operate in the market.
They denounce that the big ones expel them from the market
Grouped in the Association of Independent Energy Marketers (ACIE), they denounce that the large electric companies are driving them out of the market by negotiating bilateral contracts with its regulated subsidiaries. This directly affects small companies, which purchase their energy on the market and have to deposit a series of financial guarantees with market and system operators (OMIE and Redeia) to meet their payment obligations.
To try to alleviate the financial stress derived from this new market situation, the CNMC launched in September a reform of the guarantee system that reduces them and simplifies their procedures. It will enter into force in 2023 and tries to guarantee the solvency of these small companies. However, and as they have sent to the body, this relief will not be enough to deal with your financial problemssomething that derives de facto in their exclusion from the market by not being able to compete on prices.
The reduction of CNMC guarantees has not been enough to alleviate its financial problems, aggravated by the difficulty of being financed by banks
From ACIE they point out that the energy crisis is having “serious consequences” in the business network of the sector and leaving the marketers in a very delicate position: bound by the purchase contracts signed with the production companies and the fixed rates of their clients, they have seen how the margins were reduced at the same time as The banks have closed the faucet when it comes to financing the guarantees that they require to guarantee their activity.
In his opinion, the situation of strength of the large companies of the “electric oligopoly” can lead to the existence of “first and second class” consumers, with different prices. ACIE aims at breach of the law which establishes that 25% of the energy obtained by cheap technologies -renewable and nuclear- is Mandatorily offered on the wholesale marketand that in his opinion it is not being applied despite the fact that its entry into force was scheduled for January 1, 2022.
Bilateral contracts with their own subsidiaries
According to ACIE, which integrates companies such as Acciona, Repsol, TotalEnergies, Engie, Factorenergía or Fenie Energía, the large electric companies are signing bilateral contracts with their regulated trading companies to supply them with the cheap energy that they themselves produce. “Reserving cheap energy only for a sector of clients means that for the rest of the consumers, usually the domestic and smaller ones, only the most expensive energy is available, thus creating first and second class clients,” they told Europa Press.
They have also been against the Government’s announcement to increase the discount on the Last Resort Tariff (TUR) for gas, whose price will be well below the market price, something that will make it “impossible to compete with it” as it has a price “anti-competitive and discriminatory”. For this reason, they propose lowering tolls and charges, something that benefits all consumers, or applying subsidies such as the thermal social bonus, something that “benefits specific consumers”, the most vulnerable, and avoids “squandering free trade”. .
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