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“The defenders of the market are content with piecemeal solutions whose consequences they do not control”

Lhe surge in electricity market prices seems set to never stop, regularly exceeding 300 euros per megawatt hour (€/MWh). To mitigate the deleterious social and economic effects of these increases, the State is multiplying transitional measures, which are as costly as they are ineffective in the long term, while the profits of the major energy companies are exploding.

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These market prices, essentially guided by world gas prices, bear no relation to French production costs (around €50/MWh) but also to European ones, prompting Bruno Le Maire to say in September: “European electricity markets are aberrant. » It is undeniable that, without markets, bills would continue to reflect the costs of the electricity system, which have only changed by 5% in two years.

defend the indefensible

However, their promoters persist and sign: the market would not be responsible for the rise in prices. They even dispute that lowering prices was an initial objective of the opening of the markets. These defenders of the market do not hesitate to use patently false arguments to defend the indefensible. Here are some examples.

  1. Faced with a particularly spectacular surge in bills, Spain and Portugal obtained a derogation, justified, according to Mme van der Leyen, President of the European Commission, by “their particular situation”the two countries having “energy mixes composed mainly of renewable energies and with very few interconnections with the European market”.
  2. However, the market prices of Spain and Portugal have been, in recent months, lower and less volatile than those of Germany or France, although well interconnected and less provided with solar and wind energy: 220 € /MWh in Spain since the start of 2022 (spot price) compared to €233/MWh in France, a situation comparable to 2021 (€96/MWh in Spain compared to 109 in France).
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  1. The explanation is therefore incompatible with the facts. On the other hand, these countries have another specificity, passed over in silence: consumer bills reflect these market prices more faithfully, in accordance with a “dynamic pricing” pushed by the European Commission. It is therefore the zealous application of European market rules that has led to Spain’s particular difficulties, and not its energy mix or the level of its interconnections.

According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, the creation of the European electricity market has not changed the principles underlying electricity pricing. However, tariffs historically covered production costs, which is clearly no longer the case!

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