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Spain looking at new ideas to reduce sky-high electricity prices

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SPAIN’S government is looking at fresh moves to reduce sky-rocketing electricity prices.

It’s expected to announce targeted help for vulnerable customers and make attempts to get smaller traders involved in the electricity market.

Weekend electricity wholesale prices reached a record level and costs are three times higher than a year ago.

In a weekend interview with the El Pais newspaper, Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said that by ‘the end of 2021, people with average consumption would have paid a similar amount, barring to inflation, as they did in 2018´.

Teresa Ribera’s Ecological Transition department is overseeing on a new package of measures to blunt the rise in prices.

One move may see an increase of the 25% social discount for vulnerable groups along with trying to increase competition in the sector.

Speaking to the Antena 3 TV channel today(September 6), Teresa Ribera, said: “The most important message is that we want to do things right and look for other ways to set the price of electricity outside of the wholesale market,”

She pointed out that IVA on electricity bills had been slashed from 21% to 10% for the rest of the year and that the 7% electricity generation tax had been suspended for three months.

She hinted those reductions and changes might be extended.

Asked why Pedro Sanchez referred to a comparison with 2018 prices, Ribera said that was the year he became Prime Minister after ousting the Partido Popular’s Mariano Rajoy from power.

Sanchez is also having to dance a difficult tightrope.

The PSOE socialist leader is facing serious discontent from his left-wing coalition partners, Unidas Podemos, who in effect want electricity brought under public control.

On the other hand, Spain is limited to what it can do over subsidies and tariffs due to EU rules.

It could also face a showdown with power providers that if existing contracts are broken, leading to potential law suits demanding billions of euros in compensation from the government.

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Major power company in Spain offers to help industrial customers if government scraps windfall tax plans

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LEADING Spanish energy provider Iberdrola says it will help industrial customers if the government scraps plans for a windfall tax.

Domestic electricity bills have been subsidised by the government with reduced taxes since August after steep rises in wholesale prices.

Losses to national coffers are planned to be offset by a windfall tax on energy firms that is set to bring in around €3 billion.

Power companies have been criticised for excess profiteering thanks to the wholesale price hikes.

In a statement, Iberdrola has denied the claim stating that they ‘haven’t benefited from rises and have borne the additional costs’.

Government subsidies of bills have not extended to industrial users.

Iberdrola have now offered to ‘renew current contracted tariffs with industrial clients as far as it is possible to avoid harmful cost rises’.

The power giant says that in return for their gesture, they want the government to withdraw their plans to tax profits of utility companies.

It alleges that the prospect of such a tax carries the risk of driving away future investment.

Iberdrola president, Ignacio Sanchez Galan, said: “We are committed to supporting Spanish industry and helping our country’s prosperity.”

Sanchez Galan estimated that the windfall tax would create ‘serious damage’ of €1 billion per month for power companies in Spain.

Image Credit; Cordon Press

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Carrefour hypermarket chain hits landmark of 1,000 ‘Express’ stores across Spain

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CARREFOUR Spain has hit the milestone of opening 1,000 Express stores, with over a hundred new outlets launched so far this year.

The company has opened more than 100 Express stores in each of the last five years, with the highest number of openings of any retailer in Spain over the past 12 months.

Under the Express banner, the French-owned retailer runs supermarkets and neighbourhood stores that operate under franchise deals and are even located at petrol stations.

With an average surface area between 100 and 500 square metres, the stores try to offer a range of around.5,000 items.

Around 90% of Carrefour Express establishments operate under a franchise model, with 85% as family self-employed businesses.

In addition, 40% are led by women and 25% are managed by young entrepreneurs.

Out of the total number of stores that opened this year, 22 have been at Cepsa petrol stations.

The objective of these stores is to offer users an option to shop without leaving the service station.

Image Credit: Carrefour Spain

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Carrefour hypermarket chain hits landmark of 1,000 ‘Express’ stores across Spain

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CARREFOUR Spain has hit the milestone of opening 1,000 Express stores, with over a hundred new outlets launched so far this year.

The company has opened more than 100 Express stores in each of the last five years, with the highest number of openings of any retailer in Spain over the past 12 months.

Under the Express banner, the French-owned retailer runs supermarkets and neighbourhood stores that operate under franchise deals and are even located at petrol stations.

With an average surface area between 100 and 500 square metres, the stores try to offer a range of around.5,000 items.

Around 90% of Carrefour Express establishments operate under a franchise model, with 85% as family self-employed businesses.

In addition, 40% are led by women and 25% are managed by young entrepreneurs.

Out of the total number of stores that opened this year, 22 have been at Cepsa petrol stations.

The objective of these stores is to offer users an option to shop without leaving the service station.

Image Credit: Carrefour Spain

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