The long-awaited reform of the electricity market is underway. The European Parliament's Industry and Energy Committee debated this Tuesday for the first time the report presented by the rapporteur, the Spanish Socialist Nicolás González Casares, in which he proposes to prohibit energy cuts for the most vulnerable people and to limit the so-called "windfall profits". The MEP considers that although the Commission's proposal "is a good starting point", it is necessary to protect consumers in the face of price crises such as the one experienced in recent months. "It is necessary to introduce the obligation for Member States to prohibit the disconnection of vulnerable customers, including those affected by energy poverty, and to guarantee the right of citizens to receive electricity supply to cover their basic needs".
Among the amendments included is also the one to limit the benefits fallen from the sky of the so-called infra-marginal technologies, the cheapest ones, such as renewables or nuclear. "The Commission's proposal has an unacceptable gap, because it foresees that there may be extraordinary measures in the face of a price crisis, but it does not establish which ones," González argued. The amendment establishes a maximum income limit of 180 euros per megawatt hour. Even so, the mechanism would only be activated when prices exceed twice during three months the average of the last five years. In other words, a measure that is very difficult to activate.
Popular Europeans are opposed to capping profits because "it will kill investment".
The aim is that when this situation arose, the European Commission would activate the emergency mechanism and those profits that have been made by infra-marginal technologies could be used by countries to alleviate citizens' bills. During the first debate, the measure to help the most vulnerable people was widely supported, however, the one to limit the benefits has not gone down well. The European People's Party was the most vocal against the measure. "It's a red line, it's going to kill investment," argued Germany's Christian Ehler. The representative of the European Commission, present at the meeting, also added that she found the limit "problematic." The vast majority of groups consider that it will be one of the most difficult points in the negotiation. The aim is to have the regulation approved before the end of the legislature.