Spain extends cap on regulated gas price rises for small-scale users
MADRID, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Spain will extend a cap on regulated gas price increases for households and small and medium-sized companies by a year until end-2023 to help them cope with soaring energy prices, Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting.
The measure, which applies to all households using regulated prices regardless of their income, was approved alongside a plan to spend an extra 3 billion euros ($3 billion) to help vulnerable households.
Price increases in the state-regulated part of the market are adjusted on a quarterly basis and cannot exceed 15%. The price there, around 0.06 euros per kilowatt-hour, is between about two to four times lower than in the liberalised market where providers can change rates at any time.
"We extend the benefits of last resort gas tariffs for small consumers, whether they are SMEs or families," Ribera said.
The package approved on Tuesday is part of a wider plan to fight inflation following a leap in energy costs as the end of COVID-19 restrictions boosted demand and Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February led to gas price increases.
The government also approved a new beneficial tariff to protect 1.7 million families living in buildings with central heating. Those households must have individual meters installed before September 2023 and not consume more than the average of the last five years.
($1 = 1.0166 euros) (Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Belén Carreño Editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Potter)