Official Gazette: Royal Decree 900/2015 on self-consumption

Last Saturday morning, October 10th 2015, Royal Decree 900/2015 dated as of 9th of October, which regulates the administrative, economic and technical conditions for those modalities of electricity supply based on self-consumption and production with self-consumption was published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado (Official Gazette). According to its seventh final provision, the Royal Decree (hereinafter also referred to as ‘RD’) enters into force tomorrow, Sunday 11th of October 2015, and the deadline for contesting it finishes on the 10th of December 2015, that is, before the general elections to be celebrated on the 20th of December of the same year. According to the third transitional provision, self-consumers qualified as type 1 or 2 in the RD, with facilities being operative before the entry into force of the RD, are given a transitional period of six months to adapt to the provisions of such regulation. This term would expire on the 10th of April, i.e. well after the elections. If as a result of the elections a different party comes into power, there could be a chance to follow the fastest way to repeal the current wording of the RD and thus prevent the damage that its provisions seek with their implementation. Before the elections there are still many opportunities for the current opposition parties to express their disagreement. For instance in Valladolid, on Friday 16th of October 2015, UNEF is organising a free day where all agents interested in the photovoltaic sector that takes place in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y Leon and the Spanish legal framework, are invited. The programme includes a first discussion on self-consumption with companies located in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y Leon, a second discussion with social stake-holders - trade unions, consumer associations and third sector associations - and finally a political agenda. We will participate in the first discussion presenting the paper "Legal framework of self-consumption in Castilla y Leon and regulatory changes in the reform of the electricity sector", and are sponsoring the event in general.

UNEF has expressed its unequivocal opinion on the RD: the government insists preventing the development of self-consumption in Spain. UNEF insists that the government has approved the RD isolated from other political parties, the civil society and institutions. To UNEF, the legislation does not provide the Net Balance, the most knowledgeable modality in the world. Instead, small self-consumers are forced to give away the energy that they do not consume to power companies. UNEF underlines that self-consumers connected to the grid are already paying the same system tolls as any other consumer: the entire fixed portion, and the portion corresponding to the energy that they may demand from the grid. According to UNEF, with this legislation the Government imposes an unjustified barrier to the economic development of self-consumption in Spain. We could not agree more with UNEF. And, as reported by the journal ‘Periódico de la Energía’, the rest of the Spanish society also agree with UNEF, apart from the government.

Returning to beginning of this post, the time limit for contesting the Royal Decree will expire on December the 10th, and we will certainly contest it. At this moment we are working in two directions; firstly, we are preparing our strategy to overthrow the RD. My partner Daniel Perez already anticipated yesterday at Energynews that "Firstly one we must wait for the Royal Decree to be published in the Official Gazette, which will happen in a week time, and then we shall put together the reasons to appeal. Regarding the appeal itself, there are two possible ways to submit it: on the one hand, before the Supreme Court since the RD violates some points of the Electricity Act passed by the same government; secondly, a complaint should be also submitted to Brussels given that the RD contravenes European law and policies”. Where Daniel says "or", I already say "and", since I understand that we must do both. As a matter of fact today we have received instructions to that effect from the Assembly of Plataforma Por Un Nuevo Modelo Energético (Platform For A New Energy Model). No need to say that we will carry out this work, as always in close collaboration with UNEF, APPA, Fundación Renovables (Renewables Foundation), ANPIER and all other individuals and organizations who want to support it, such as SECARTYS. Secondly we are considering a formula that allows us to represent self-consumers who have facilities already operating, before the Supreme Court. It would consist, as always in a formula that seeks an affordable price divided among all interested parties, which can be called "Crowd-litigation". We hope to publish both the Crowd-Litigation formula and the first lines of our legal strategy before the end of this week, i.e. before the UNEF free day in Valladolid. We already have several self consumers who signed up for this scheme before knowing the details. We will work together closely with them to determine the parametres of this scheme. 

We will publish a first outline on the ins and outs of RD 900/2015 at the end of this week, or early next week, together with its legal pitfalls, and most of all of course why we think that it may be effectively challenged before Court and the European Commission.