Energy prices fall as better times arrive
A drop in electricity standing charges and a 20% fall in butano canister rates so far this year, coupled with falling petrol and diesel prices is leading to a bit more spare change for consumers around Spain, amidst revised upward growth rates for the country’s economy, just months before Mariano Rajoy’s PP government faces the Spanish electorate.
Electricity standing charges are about to go down by an average of 2.1% across the board, or 2.2% for domestic consumers. A new bill of law was passed last week to cut the fixed fee for the supply, with deputy president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría saying the government has now cleared its energy deficit which had caused prices to rocket. She stressed that the only element of electricity bills which the government is able to control is the standing charge, not the price per unit. In practice, however, about 60% of a typical electricity bill is made up of taxes, charges and the fixed fee for connection. Electricity bills have been multiplying in the last few years and, in the last three, have increased by nearly 50%. Some critics though have slammed the imminent 2.2% reduction, saying it is too little and too late and merely vote chasing by the government with the general election set for the autumn.
Bottled butano gas went down in price again this week, this time by 5%, but since the start of the year it has dropped by nearly a quarter, or 23.3%. A typical 12.5-kilo orange bottle is now down from €14.12 to €13.42 off the shelf, although consumers who have a delivery contract normally pay a surcharge of a couple of euros, and some petrol stations which sell them will charge a further euro for lifting them down from the rack. At the beginning of 2015, a 12.5-kilo orange gas bottle cost €17.50, having nearly doubled in six years due to the government’s energy supply deficit. Prices are reviewed every two months, and went down in May because the ministry of industry said this debt had been wiped out, similar to what has happened over electricity standing charges. In fact gas bottles should have gone down in price by 6.9% – but the maximum bi-monthly price adjustment is 5% either up or down, meaning costs cannot fall any further until September.
Prices at the Spanish petrol forecourts have been dropping by around four cents a litre on average over the last week, mainly through falling world oil prices, and the ruling PP government have upgraded their economic forecasts for the country, with the autumn general election looming. The economy ministry said the Spanish economy would create more than 600,000 jobs this year and start to chip away from next year at its debt mountain. It said the overall jobless rate in 2015 would be 21.1% – one percentage point lower than its previous forecast, though still one of the highest in the EU. It confirmed its new growth forecast for this year, which it has revised upwards from 2.9 to 3.3 percent. That is more than twice the 1.5 percent average rate forecast by Brussels for the Eurozone.