EconomyFinancialLarge electricity consumers accelerate their exit from self-supply plants

Large electricity consumers accelerate their exit from self-supply plants

Self-supply centers are staying with fewer partners. The number of consumers – industrial and large companies – that make use of the electricity generated in these assets and that have requested to leave this scheme has increased in recent months , according to sources from the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) and documents from the sessions. regulator’s public.

The self-supply plants were designed more than a decade ago for the generation of energy for self-consumption by large industrial clients – for whom the state-owned CFE could not guarantee their supply – and the 2013 energy reform allowed their continued operation. . But the current administration has put this figure at the center of the discussion of the electricity model and has continuously accused that the model has been distorted and that large companies have sold electricity at lower prices than the state one, without this being allowed.

So far this year, the electricity market regulator has approved in its public sessions the exclusion of 33 charging centers from different self-supply plants. Each exclusion implies that a consumer of one of these plants is deciding to leave the scheme.

“What it implies is that there are more and more loads [consumers] that are migrating to the wholesale electricity market, that are leaving the self-supply scheme,” explains Bernardo Cortés, a lawyer specializing in the sector.

Just in a session at the end of September, the regulator approved the exclusion of 13 load centers and last July authorized 19. During past years, the regulator also brought these matters to the plenary, but in a smaller number, with five authorizations in 2020 and five in 2021.

“The CRE only authorizes the process, but the request comes fully from consumers,” says a senior official from the regulator who has asked not to be quoted.

The load exclusions approved during this year occurred after the electricity reform proposal was not approved last April by the legislature. The change included the immediate termination of all self-supply contracts. “This in a certain way – the departure of partners – is a way to end the use of this scheme, consumers have begun to realize that its use brings them uncertainty,” says the source.

The regulator’s documents do not detail which partners – as the consumers of this scheme are known – have decided to leave the scheme, nor the reasons for leaving. But, according to the minutes of the sessions, the plants of the Spanish Iberdrola – the main user of this figure – are the ones that have registered the largest number of load exclusions, with 19.

“This is totally the decision of the loads, that is, of the consumer who wants to leave and you cannot do anything against that, if a load wants to leave, it leaves. We cannot rule out that there may be pressure from the CFE towards consumers to leave the companies,” says an industry analyst who has asked not to be quoted.

In a conference last May, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that some banks and shopping centers had already agreed to leave the self-supply scheme and let the state-owned CFE distribute electricity to them.

Analysts explain that consumers could be leaving the scheme in search of better electricity prices or due to an upcoming expiration of self-supply permits or contracts.

The self-supply plants, according to the legislation, could migrate to the wholesale electricity market at the end of their permit, but until now the regulator has shown resistance to approving the migration of these assets, according to sector participants. So far this year, the Commission has already granted 14 authorizations to self-supply plants to operate under a single generation permit, but there are other assets – such as some of Iberdrola – that have not received authorization.

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