Plan to cap gas prices in Spain is delayed by a week

Teresa Ribera has confirmed that without the final approval from Brussels the Cabinet will not be able to approve the proposal this Tuesday


The implementation of Spain and Portugal's plan to lower energy bills by capping gas prices will be delayed for at least another week. The head of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, admitted on Monday that the government was still working with Brussels to finalise the "last details" of the so-called 'Iberian exception', which means that the measure will "probably" not be approved at the Council of Ministers today, Tuesday 3 May, as planned.

On her arrival at the extraordinary council of EU energy ministers meeting on Sunday in Brussels, the minister expressed her confidence that, despite the complexity of the details required to receive the Commission's final approval, the measure could be approved "next week".

Spain and Portugal have already reached a "political agreement" with Europe to cap the price of gas used to generate electricity at an average of 50 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), which will translate into a reduction in retail prices. The first to notice this would be customers in the regulated market (the so-called PVPC), as their tariff is linked to this market.

The reduction achieved by Madrid and Lisbon, which in principle will be applied for 12 months, is considerable compared to the 90 euros at which gas currently moves in the market. But it is less ambitious than the initial proposal of 30 euros that Spain and Portugal had initially advocated.

The reluctance shown by some European partners, especially Germany, and pressure from a large part of the electricity sector to avoid the proposal, forced the two countries to give in on this point.

Longer to notice reduction in bills

Despite this, and with the political agreement in place, there is no risk that the measure will not be implemented in the coming weeks, although the delay means that consumers will also take longer to notice the reduction in their bills.

Ribera explained last week that she was confident that the measure would have an impact on the May bill. However, if the 'Iberian exception' finally receives the green light at the Council of Ministers on Tuesday 10 May, the public will not notice its full effect until the June bill.

Despite this, the Ministry of Ecological Transition argues that the plan will be enough to reduce the cost of electricity in the market and in the price paid by the consumer.