Spanish government vows to lower energy prices

The Spanish government has promised it will lower the cost of electricity, gas and petrol this month when it will approve a raft of measures designed to respond to the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Energy costs
Energy bills are rising but there are ways to cut costs. Photo: Pexels / Pixabay

Spanish Presidency Minister, Félix Bolaños announced the plan this week, but did not specify yet exactly how the government plans on achieving this. He said it would be done by March 29th.

He said that the Spanish government is working with its partners in the EU to find a solution to the energy crisis and hopes to agree on a plan at the European Summit in Brussels on March 24th and 25th.  

READ ALSO: 11 ways to cut costs as Spain’s electricity rates beat all-time price records

Bolaños promised that if consensus is not agreed upon, the Spanish government will take measures alone to ensure that prices are lowered. “We are considering different ways of doing this, from state aid and taxes to capping prices and establishing a set energy price,” he said.

The minister insisted that the government is aware “of what it is costing to fill the tank, pay for electricity and keep the houses warm” due to the rise in energy prices, and has indicated that the measures taken to lower them will be “immediate and simple”. 

Energy prices have been spiralling in Spain in recent months.

On March 8th, Spain saw a record wholesale market average of €544.98/MWh, breaking the previous day’s all-time high by a rise of €100 in just 24 hours. Electricity was most expensive between 7pm and 9pm, costing a shocking €700/MWh.

Energy costs have been soaring across the EU and other countries have also taken into their own hands in a bid to lower prices.

France, for example, announced a reduction in petrol from April 1st of €0.15 per litre and Portugal also announced a monthly subsidy for the price of fuel of €0.40 per litre.

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Spain starts sending gas to Morocco after Algeria spat

Spain has started sending natural gas supplies to Morocco through the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME) to ensure its energy security following a supply crisis with Algeria.

Spain starts sending gas to Morocco after Algeria spat

“The first shipment via the Maghreb gas pipeline took place (on Tuesday) involving LNG (liquefied natural gas) which Morocco bought on the international markets and unloaded at a Spanish regasification plant,” a source at Spain’s ecological transition ministry told AFP.

In February, Spain said it would help Morocco address a gas supply shortage by letting it ship LNG to a Spanish regasification plant which could then be transferred to Morocco via the GME pipeline.

The GME pipeline, which crosses Morocco, had previously been used by Algeria to transport gas to Spain.

But in October, following a diplomatic spat, Algiers refused to renew a 25-year deal with Rabat to use the pipeline.   

Morocco had been receiving around a billion cubic metres of gas per year as transit fees, covering around 97 percent of its needs, so Algeria’s move directly impacted on Rabat’s energy supplies.

Algiers, which in the first quarter supplied about 25 percent of Spain’s gas imports, had in April warned Madrid not to re-export any of its supplies to Morocco, warning it could endanger its own contract with Algeria.

“A certification scheme guarantees that this gas is not of Algerian origin,” the Spanish ministry source said.

Spain’s Enagas, which operates four LNG terminals and the national gas grid, “will check the origin of the methane tanker carrying the gas” acquired by Morocco “and after unloading will issue a certificate”, ensuring that no other gas is exported, the source said.

Tensions peaked between the North African neighbours last year following Morocco’s renewal of diplomatic ties with Israel and Washington’s recognition of Rabat’s sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara.

Diplomatic ties have also nose-dived between Spain and Algeria after Madrid reversed its decades-long stance of neutrality on Western Sahara, agreeing to back Morocco’s autonomy plan for the disputed region to end a year-long diplomatic spat.

Spain’s move, widely seen as a victory for Morocco, infuriated Algeria, which backs the Polisario Front, Western Sahara’s independence movement.