The increase in the price of gas triggers the requests to go to the regulated rate

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With the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than seven months ago there was a rise in natural gas, now softened by the accumulation of ‘stock’ and lack of cold. This rise in prices is causing a barrage of queries and requests from consumers to switch to the TUR rate, regulated by the Government and more competitive than those of the free market. In this sense, requests have multiplied received since the beginning of October by the four gas marketers of last resort or regulated rate (Naturgy, Endesa, Iberdrola and TotalEnergies) to take advantage of it, both from their own customers and from consumers who until now were in the free market with other companies .

Specifically, as market sources have confirmed to EFE, some of the companies in the sector are receiving twice as many requests transfer to the TUR regarding what he had been receiving before the summer. These movements in the market coincide with the Government’s decision to create a Specific TUR for neighboring communitieswhich until now could not benefit from the regulated market for exceeding the maximum annual consumption allowed, and to cover with public funds the deficit generated since October 2021 due to the limitation of the increase in these rates.

So far, the debt generated by this cap was recovering in future quarterly reviewsand its cost fell on the consumers of the regulated market, a situation that will temporarily cease to be the case, until the end of 2023.

This is how the TUR works

The tariff of last resort (TUR), which has been in operation since 2008, is similar to the regulated tariff or PVPC of the electricity market, although it is less exposed to market variations and offers economic conditions even more advantageous than the PVPC. Currently, there are three TUR tariffs differentiated by annual consumption, to which the so-called Neighborhood Savings TUR has been added a few days ago, which will allow 1.7 million households in communities with a centralized gas boiler to benefit from the capped prices on the regulated market.

Unlike its electrical counterpart, which is indexed to the daily price set by the wholesale market, the TUR is review quarterly by the Government, which sets the increase that this rate will suffer for the coming months based on the price of gas on international markets.

Faced with the escalation suffered by this raw material for more than a year, a situation aggravated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Government has capped the cost at 15% that applies to the increase in gas prices in the TUR reviews, which allows the receipt to not be increased by more than 5% every three months. This rule agrees that the regulated rates are currently 50% cheaper than those offered by marketers in the free market, according to calculations by the Executive.

The data from the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) coincide with those of the Government: a consumer covered by the TUR with a consumption of 9,000 KWh per year pays 60 euros per month and 723 per year, compared to 126 and 1,516 euros, respectively, paid by consumers who have contracted the most affordable rate on the free market. Despite the more advantageous conditions, the TUR is “the great unknown” of energy rateswith only 1.5 million consumers covered by it, compared to almost 6.5 million in the free market, according to the latest bulletin on the retail gas market of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), with data of the first quarter of 2022.

Sedigas asks for a temporary stop

The Containment measures approved by the Government have been positively received by the sector, which considers it “sensible” to extend the limitation of the TUR, although it warns, through the association of gas companies Sedigas, that this cap should be temporary and transitory. Likewise, it warns that there could be “a massive migration of clients” towards the regulated rate “that threatens the sustainability and competition of the free market and questions the liberalization process undertaken by the sector more than two decades ago.”

The transfer mentioned by Sedigas became visible a few weeks ago, when Holaluz announced that abandoned gas marketing to benefit its 70,000 clients, who will be transferred to the regulated market, “much cheaper than the free market” according to the co-founder and executive president of the company, Carlota Pi. In this sense, the Association of Independent Energy Marketers (ACIE) criticizes that the current price of the TUR is currently “well below” the market priceso today it is “clearly impossible” to compete with it.

For this reason, it rejects the imposition of a fixed value on the TUR that prevents it from competing with it, and demands that all marketers be allowed to offer lower prices. In this sense, he believes that the TUR should be focused solely on the consumers considered vulnerableand remember that the measures must be applied to the entire market and not just to a rate offered by only four companies.

Source: lainformacion.com

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