Barcelonans are taking to the streets to protest the cost of electricity

Of Perrine Laffon | Published on 04/11/2021 at 19:52 | Updated on 04/11/2021 at 19:57

Several collectives have called together for Saturday, November 6th in Barcelona a large demonstration to protest against the unbridled increase in energy prices, and in particular electricity.

The demonstration will take place from 6 p.m. on the Plaza Universitat under the motto “Let’s stop electricity fraud!” and the hashtag #lignitesnostra (“The electricity is ours”). Several dozen organizations, in particular the Aliança contra la pobresa energètica, the CGT, as well as several housing associations, are calling on the population to join the movement of “dissatisfaction with rising energy prices” and expect the situation to worsen in winter, a time when which “household consumption increases by 20%”.

Historical price increase in Spain

This gathering is an expression of the weariness of a large part of the population, which is faced with excessive basic loads and for whom this precarious situation is becoming normal. In a public manifesto, the organizers affirm that “Last year, electricity bills rose by 44% in Spain, fuel costs by 23% and global inflation by more than 5%.“, which entails an increase in the prices of food and daily necessities, “As the cost of living continues to rise, unemployment continues to rise and precarious jobs are spreading like wildfire“.
The numbers are undeniable; in the last two months, electricity costs have continued to rise and are setting a new record every day. Finally, in the last days of October 2021, prices experienced a slight fall, but it was short-lived: after four consecutive days of renewed growth, the price per megawatt per hour is now 171.91 euros, four times higher on November 4, 2020.

Whose fault is it?

Spain, like its European neighbors, gets its supplies from the European wholesale energy market to cover its electricity consumption. The regulated tariff for the sale of electricity to private households is partly linked to the wholesale market. However, wholesale electricity costs have doubled since early 2021: they are closely linked to the rise in gas prices since the post-lockdown economic recovery. The increase in the price of CO2 emission allowances is also blamed.
But for the organizations behind Saturday’s demonstration, those excuses mean nothing. They point the finger at the big multinationals that control Spain’s electricity system: “In the energy market, the profits of the multinationals in the sector have continued to multiply, as have the salaries of their managers, directors and shareholders. In the case of electricity, a fraudulent pricing system forces us to pay much more than the cost of production“. They demand the end of “Speculation and profit with a basic need like electricity“.

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