Full Council has approved the latest legal and administrative procedure for the creation of the publicly-managed electricity supplier, which will be named ‘Barcelona Energia’. The new company is expected to supply all the City Council’s electricity by summer 2018, representing a saving of 500,000 euros, and should be ready to supply as many as 20,000 homes by the end of the same year.
The Councillor for Water and Energy, Eloi Badia, explained that the creation of the electricity supply company is the result of a broad city agreement and exemplifies the public and metropolitan leadership sought by the municipal government. “Barcelona Energia will be a reliable municipal company, committed to Law 24/2015 and the fight against energy poverty”, he noted.
It is calculated that by putting the entire supply of electricity for the municipal administration in the hands of Barcelona Energia will mean a saving of 500,000 euros. Badia also affirmed that it will be “the biggest wholly publicly-owned electricity supply company in the state, offering a hundred per cent renewable local energy”, and that rather than aiming to maximise profits the company will work to ensure users pay the lowest prices possible.
In the first stage, at the end of 2018, as many as 20,000 homes may be supplied, a figure corresponding to 20% of the volume of business which public companies can supply to private users by law. The figure will grow as Barcelona Energia increases its volume of business and the new supplier will also provide electricity for other public companies such as Barcelona Serveis Municipals and Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona.
The public company also means a chance to boost the production of energy by citizens and guarantee Barcelona’s residents that excess power will be bought up, offering them support and guidance on the whole process to optimise savings and the efficiency of their energy-producing systems.
Barcelona Energia has been conceived as a provider of integrated energy services, built around the existing public company Tractament i Selecció de Residus, SA (Tersa), whose current activity of waste recovery and energy supply will form part of the overall activity of the new company.
Reactions from municipal groups
The Grup Municipal Demòcrata (GMD) claimed that the initiative was actually incubated in the previous term of office, pointing out that the new company will make Barcelona a leader in energy. The Ciutadans formation believe the company may be a useful tool to promote a model of self-consumption in the city and called on the municipal government to use it properly, efficiently and without demagogy.
For the ERC municipal group, the new operator is “crucial for driving an endemic energy policy covering all the City Council’s energy needs”, as well as being able to sell to third parties. The PP played down the creation of the municipal company, its influence on the price of electricity and its ability to combat energy poverty. For their part, the CUP called for efforts to get existing companies in the market to collaborate which are far removed from the major operators.
The measure was approved with votes from the municipal government of BComú and the PSC, as well the GMD, Cs, ERC, CUP groups and the independent Councillor Gerard Ardanuy, with the PP group abstaining.