EU – Brussels opens the European electricity market reform to public consultation for three weeks

Power line, as of December 31, 2022, in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain). – David Zorrakino – Europa Press

The European Commission on Monday opened for public consultation the review of the electricity market design to better protect consumers from escalating and volatile prices in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and ensure access to secure energy from clean sources.

The consultation will remain open for comments from interested parties for three weeks, until February 13, and its results will help Brussels to shape its own legislative proposal, which will arrive at the end of March, as already announced by the Commission in its work program for 2023.

Specifically, the survey asks for opinions to contribute to lower electricity bills, reduce the impact of the price of fossil fuels, boost renewable energies, guarantee supply, consumer protection or improvements in transparency, surveillance and market integrity.

After two decades of the current electricity market, the European Union (EU) as a whole sees the need for a comprehensive reform to better protect households and businesses from high energy prices, increase resilience and accelerate the green transition in the context of the current electricity price crisis, with an economic burden that has fallen on end consumers.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen already announced this residue in her annual State of the Union address, something the EU-27 have called for rapid work on in order to secure European energy sovereignty and achieve climate neutrality.

To date, Spain, France and Greece are the three Member States that have anticipated the EU executive’s proposal by submitting their own contributions to the redesign of the electricity market, as confirmed by EU executive sources.

In this regard, the Third Vice-President and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has already pointed out that the Spanish approach, submitted on January 10 to Brussels, aroused «great interest» among its European partners and, in fact, has been publicly supported by the German Minister of Economy, Robert Habeck.

In addition, Ministry sources have indicated that Spain supports the European Commission’s considerations to facilitate the deployment of renewables, improve consumer protection against the volatility of fossil fuel markets, build a fairer market and make progress in terms of transparency, in line with the arguments put forward by the Government to justify the reform.

Spain, which was also the first country to submit a proposal to Europe, has also begun contacts with Brussels with a view to extending the Iberian gas cap mechanism in order to continue lowering final consumer prices in the face of high natural gas prices, at least until the end of 2024, and which has enabled savings of 4,500 million euros to date (150 euros per family on average).