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Anti-corruption: Iberdrola Generacion accused of manipulating energy prices

Iberdrola is in a new legal mess.

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Anti-corruption: Iberdrola Generacion accused of manipulating energy prices

Iberdrola is in a new legal mess. Monday's indictment by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office against Iberdrola Generacion, Iberdrola's electricity generation business, and four of its directors has been launched. The charges are against Iberdrola Generacion, who it claims is guilty of a crime against market prices, since they manipulated energy prices in 2013. This hurt consumers.

The Prosecutor's office requests that Angel Chiarri Toscano, Director for Energy Management, Gregoriorelano Cobian, responsible Optimization, Resource Management and Trading, Jose Luis Rapun Jimenez, head of Asset Management, and Javier Paradinas Zorrilla, head of short-term markets and global generation, be interviewed.

They request that Iberdrola Generacion is sentenced to a maximum of 84.8 million euro in fines. This is before the system that, according an anti-corruption complaint against the company, it "increased the price of energy sold beyond what should be resulting from the free concurrence between supply and demand."

This higher electricity market price would have been achieved by Iberdrola Generacion from November 30, 2013 to December 23, 2013. It would have "without legitimate cause that justifies" an increase in the electricity prices corresponding to its Duero and Sil hydroelectric plants. The price was above the daily market price, which prevented operations from being matched "despite the rise in electricity spot market prices in those days, which put it before an optimal cost opportunity.

This led to the abrupt halt in programming for the plants. They stopped producing energy. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the dispatched offer was not more than 70 euros per megawatthour (MWh) between November 2nd and November 29th 2013. It concentrated 91.48% of it –866.4 GW – in a price range below 50 euro MWh.

Concerning energy not dispatched: 48.13% of 1,217.3 GW- energy was sold in price bands greater than 80 euros per MWh.

They also assure that 32.54% of energy dispatched between November 30th and December 23rd of 2008 -183.7GW- was priced in a range higher than EUR80/MWh. They also indicate that 2,655.9GW of the energy not dispatched was -94.33% -2.505.3 GW and that it was in price ranges above EUR80/MWh.

This scenario states that Iberdrola violated the order of merit for power plants during the production dispatch. "This resulted in a reduction of electricity generation from Duero, Sil, and Tajo hydroelectric plant and, as such, the purchase operations were mated with energy from combined cycle.

They were more expensive and could handle a wider range of prices, between 80 to 90 euros per megawatt (MWh) compared with the average price for energy from hydroelectric stations, which is between 45 and 55 euro.

Anticorruption explains that the change in weather conditions caused by strong storms and winds resulted in a decrease in the cost of energy as a result of the substantial contribution of renewable resources. According to the indictment, the immediate result of the "artifice concocted by the accused" was an increase in electricity prices by at least 7,156 Euros per MWh.

This would have resulted in damage to the claim for at least 107.34 millions euros. According to estimates, 18 marketing companies would have filed claims against the company for more than 10.56 millions euros. The remainder, which amounts to 107.34 millions, would have been paid by consumers who had variable price contracts and fixed price contracts by their insurance companies.

"Iberdrola Management dispatched 2,965,779 megawatts (2.965.779GW) during the period under review which meant a profit in 21,222,818 euro," the Prosecutor’s Office states in its letter.

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