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New record-high electricity price on Wednesday: €291.73/MWh

Soaring costs attributed to heightened demand, natural gas crisis, and lack of renewables

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14 December 2021 01:05 PM

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ACN|Barcelona

Electricity prices in Spain will hit yet another all-time high on Wednesday, averaging €291.73 per MWh. 

According to OMIE, the Iberian Peninsula's electricity market operator, the cost of electricity will peak at 8 pm to 9 pm at €319.13/MWh, while it will be cheapest from 4 am to 5 am at €261.73/MWh.

This will be a 1.4% rise on Tuesday's wholesale fees, the second-highest ever, and almost 5 times more expensive than earlier this year. The previous record was on October 7, when prices averaged €288.53/MWh.

These prices affect the 10 million households with contracts in the regulated electricity market, the PVPC. Those whose contracts are in the so-called free market, an estimated 17 million households, pay a fixed amount every month regardless of daily wholesale price fluctuations. In order to obtain electricity bill vouchers, however, people must have PVPC contracts. 

Reasons for soaring costs

Since July, when the previous January 2012 record-high wholesale cost of €103.76/MWh was first broken, electricity prices have made headlines 20 times and, according to experts, they are likely to remain in the spotlight at least into the near future. 

Low natural gas reserves, which have been attributed to geopolitical unrest between the EU and Russia, and are needed to power combined-cycle plants, as well as an overreliance on more polluting electricity sources incurring hefty CO2 emissions rights — only 19.8% of Catalonia's electricity came from renewables in 2020 — are largely behind this increased market volatility. 

There has also been a marked increase in demand in 2021 compared to 2020, when Covid-19 forced most activity to a halt during the strict lockdown months and wholesale prices dropped. 

Mitigating measures

From June 1, there are three PVPC electricity rates that vary according to when power is consumed:

The highest rate is Monday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, and from 6 pm to 10 pm.

The middle rate is Monday to Friday from 8 am to 10 am, from 2 pm to 6 pm, and from 10 pm to midnight.

The cheapest rate is throughout the day on Saturday, Sunday, and bank holidays, and up until 8 am Monday to Friday.

In late June, Madrid lowered the VAT for electricity from 21% to 10%, while earlier in September, the Spanish government lowered the special tax on electricity from 5.1% to 0.5% and suspended the 7% tax on electricity production until the end of the year.

 

Filling the Sink podcast

Cristina Tomàs White and Guifré Jordan join Lorcan Doherty to discuss the causes and the consequences of the energy crisis affecting Europe.

Press play below to listen to the episode released on October 23 or subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts Listen on Spotify

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