Since the liberalisation of the electricity market, citizens have been able to choose which supplier company they wish to hire their electricity and gas supplies from. There are two types of supplier companies: reference ones offering regulated-market (i.e. established by legislation) contracts and rates, and free-market ones, which are not regulated.
Reference suppliers throughout Spanish territory are under a legal obligation to provide electricity to consumers who invoke voluntary prices for small consumers (PVPC), who have requirements for the PVPC but wish to hire at a set price, who are vulnerable and entitled to discount rates and who have no valid contract with a free-market supplier.
All suppliers must state the source of the energy they supply in their invoices. Some have solutions aimed at customers who only wish to see one type of source: a renewable-energy one. The National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) has a list of all suppliers.
Barcelona Energia, the metropolitan electricity company
Barcelona Energia is the public electricity distributor for the Barcelona and its Metropolitan Area. Its mission is to work towards the transition to a sustainable energy model by boosting self-consumption and favouring locally produced 100% renewable energy certified by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC).
Barcelona Energia supplies electricity to the municipal buildings and facilities of Barcelona City Council and serves 4,675 points and 21 bodies and entities of the municipal group of companies. It also offers services to the facilities of the metropolitan area and to city residents.
Barcelona City Council’s full council meeting on 31 March 2017 approved the creation of a public electricity distributor, through the public company Tractament i Selecció de Residus, SA, (TERSA). Since February, Barcelona Energia has marketed all the green energy it manages and exploits, totalling around 200 GWh/year.
Understanding your electricity bill
The City Council offers various outreach resources that help spread a new energy culture focused on increasing knowledge about saving, energy efficiency and rational use of energy, as well as generation from renewable energies.
The objective is to understand how we consume energy, to know what options we are being offered by the energy market, to know whether we are paying to use a higher than necessary energy rate and, ultimately, to know how to reduce the cost of our energy bills.
Basic energy supply guaranteed
In order to guarantee the basic supply of energy for everyone, combined measures are needed to implement effective structural changes that compensate for the inequality generated by energy poverty.
In this regard, the government measure on the Transition towards energy sovereignty, which was approved by Barcelona City Council in July 2016, establishes that having access to energy is a basic right and one of the city’s main objectives. Accordingly, it aims to:
- Coordinate operations with the Area of Social Rights, identify vulnerable people and start implementing actions that are needed.
- Establish social criteria for all energy-based operations;
- Continue relationships with energy suppliers to prevent people from having their power cut off.
- Implement an information, advice and support service to resolve city residents’ energy problems for people who require such a service, based on local solutions, accessibility and transparency, via local amenities with energy assessment points (in the Housing offices) and La Fàbrica del Sol, among others.
- Create awareness campaigns.
- Establish systems that enable the reinvestment of money that is currently used to pay energy bills in structural policies of auto-consumption, energy saving and energy efficiency.
In summary, the City Council wants to prevent people’s power being cut off and to enable vulnerable people to have guaranteed access to energy.