Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Where’s the fairness? Consumer representative angry due to rigging of electricity prices


Juha Berling-Pomoel, secretary general of the Consumers’ Association, and Marju Cilindar of the Home Owners’ Association wonder why consumers cannot be allowed to enjoy cheap electricity, even for a while.

The triple reactor output of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant has been reduced because electricity is too cheap. The news from Talusanomit and Yell on the matter unsettled Juha Berling-Pomoeli, secretary general of the Swedish Consumers Association.

– Here you can see that the consumer is ultimately forced to pay, for example by manipulating the production, even though there is not always coercion, he says.

Read more: Short joy – Olkiluoto 3 production scaled down because electricity is too cheap

Marju Silander, executive director of Omakotilito, doesn’t swallow matter without biting it.

– They say that the manufacturer needs to think carefully in order not to start artificially doing something like this.

Berling-Pomoel and Silander consider where justice and fairness lie.

In autumn and winter, consumers had to pay exorbitant prices for their electricity. Berling-Pomoel is appalled that now, when in fact it would have been possible to enjoy really cheap electricity as a counterbalance for some time, the price is being raised by reducing production.

Some power companies have made huge profits. Berling-Pomoel hopes the industry will have a better eye for the game.

Read more: Fortum profit jumps at start of year – supported by electricity price

– For several months, the Finns’ money went to the few companies that could produce cheaply and sell expensively. At least for a short period of time, the consumer may be allowed to profit from the fact that the price moves in the other direction.

Berling-Pomoel understands that the price may not be in the red for months or even years. However, the Olkiluoto 3 started generating electricity at full capacity this spring.

– We must be careful that the price is not artificially manipulated by the industry, he says.

When electricity prices were high, there was a lot of discussion about the fact that the price is determined by the market and the system should not be messed with. Both Berling-Pomoeli and Silander think that such sentences are put in a new light.

– Even before that, there was talk between the lines about how this could happen, whether producers might be interested in keeping the price at a certain level, says Silander.

Read more: What is a fair electricity price? – the Energy Agency will tell you when a decision will be made on the matter

Beurling-Pomoell is wondering what the target price could be. Will it be 4-5 cents per kilowatt hour, where the price was before the crisis.

Storing electricity is difficult. You can’t even try too hard to forward it, as the network may be overloaded.

If anyone starts regulating electricity production, Berling-Pomoeli thinks it should be Fingrid, the grid company, not the electricity producers or owners. In that case, it would be a protective technical measure and would not have the primary goal of improving the market price.

Coercive actions that increase market value do not inspire confidence when manufacturers or facility owners do so on their own without any real pressure, he adds.

Berling-Pomoel expects caution from the new government. Electricity prices have seen two extremes in less than a year. So that consumers are not only at the mercy of companies, they feel it would be important to streamline the laws and ensure justice in all situations.

Cylinder is surprised that the surplus electricity is not exported to the rest of Europe.

– Decision makers are also very enthusiastic about the fact that Finland will now become an electricity exporter, he added.

New wind power is constantly being built in Finland. On the other hand, consumers buy solar panels and solutions that reduce consumption. It is possible that regulation in the future will be approached more gently than in the past.

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