Why can’t the Spanish government step in and stop the electricity price scandal? | EFE

Households and businesses in Spain will be thinking twice about using appliances and switching on lights after the country saw a new record for the cost of electricity yesterday.

Spaniards have felt the pinch of higher electricity prices all summer.

Consumers began complaining in July when the cost reached 106 euros per megawatt-hour during a hot spell. Before then, the previous record cost was 103 euros per MWh, set on Jan. 11, 2002.

The Spanish government says the soaring electricity bills are driven by increase demand, gas imports that Spain needs to fulfill its energy needs and spiralling prices of so-called carbon certificates, which give companies the right to release carbon dioxide.

But what is clearly going on, and it is nothing new, is that the main electricity suppliers are operating a monopoly.

They know that they have got consumers in the grasp and have all agreed on the high tariffs.

This kind of market behaviour is surely illegal and something the Spanish government should be taking action to curtail.

But, as we have seen before, despite being a Socialist, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, does not like upsetting the country’s big companies. So, instead he has asked the European Union to reform the energy market, but has warned that there is no quick fix. Just what consumers want to hear.