Oct 1 (Reuters) - Power firms including wind energy leader
Iberdrola and investors have complained to European
officials about a Spanish move to claw back company profits and
channel them to consumers hit by high energy prices, a letter
seen by Reuters showed.
A global cocktail of strong demand as economies emerge from
pandemic-induced recessions, infrastructure outages and low
stocks have forced gas and power prices to record highs.
In Spain, where flexible tariffs leave consumers more
exposed to the price spike, the government has imposed charges
on companies seen to have benefited from the rise.
But power firms have protested, saying they are already
committed to selling all of their base power production for this
year and more than three-quarters of 2022's generation at prices
far below current highs.
In a letter dated Sept. 24, executives from Iberdrola, Enel
unit Endesa and the Spanish unit of
Portugal's EDP, along with European electricity
industry associations and the Global Infrastructure Investor
Association asked the European Commission to "immediately start
an in-depth analysis" of the Spanish charges.
They said the measure would jeopardise European Union plans
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions "by breaking investors'
confidence" and undermining confidence in the bloc's electricity
market and carbon emissions trading system.
A spokesperson for Spain's Energy and Environment Ministry
declined to comment on the letter. A European Commission
spokesperson confirmed that it had received the letter, and said
it would respond in due course.
The Spanish government has said companies will face limits
on their profits until March, when the measure expires, but that
they will get higher tariffs later, meaning the overall impact
It expects to channel 2.6 billion euros ($3 billion) from
firms to consumers over the next six months.
The signatories to the letter said EU law meant governments
could use a range of alternative options to shield consumers
from higher bills, such as reducing taxes on energy - another
measure Spain has taken to respond to the price spike.
($1 = 0.8633 euros)
(Reporting by Isla Binnie, additional reporting by Kate Abnett;
editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jason Neely)