SPAIN The weekly Council of Ministers last Friday approved a number of changes to the electricity supply industry. Most significant for the consumer is a price rise of 3.2% in August (no firm dat specified but we can assume it will be on the first day). This increase is aimed at sharing out the cost of what is known as the 'tariff deficit' and defined as the cost of electricity compared to what we pay for it. This amounts to some €26 billion, and the measure is aimed at cutting that by €4.5 billion, of which €900m is to be paid by the consumers, another €900m by the state, and the remaining €2.7m by renewable energy companies, which have suffered the most under the changes.>>>Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria said at a press conference after the meeting that there was no other option; the alternatives were a breakdown of the system or a price increase of 40%.
'The measure was not easy,' said Soria, 'but essential ... We have tried to do things in the general interest, which may or may not coincide with the interests of the companies.' He added, 'Fundamentally, the changes are to made with the consumer in view.'