The Price Commission of the Government of the Canary Islands has rejected the proposal of the City Hall of Santa Cruz to climb the water tariff by almost 8%, in order to rebalance Emmasa financially in the face of rising energy costs.
As confirmed by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, on which the Price Commission depends, the plenary session of the aforementioned body addressed, at its last meeting, the technical report prepared by the Commission’s advisory working group, in which it is pointed out that this percentage is excessive, proposing that, if the intention to raise the water is maintained, this increase should be 2.5%, an increase that would be sufficient to cover the expenses derived from the rise in energy prices , so that the service is self-financing.
From the Government of the Canary Islands it is clarified that, after the celebration of the Price Commission, now it must be the Ministry of Industry that approves the technical proposal that has come out of it, and communicates it to the Santa Cruz City Council.
The technical report of the Price Commission, to which DIARIO DE AVISOS has had access, does not share the company’s approach regarding the numbers presented. “It seems more logical to consider, instead of the costs of the supply service alone, the total costs of the concession, also valuing the income produced by the complementary services, and thus avoid the more or less discretionary allocation of certain costs to each of the services; but also valuing in parallel those attributed exclusively to the supply service”.
In this way, the study makes this differentiation in the numbers proposed by the company, both from the point of view of the integral service, and only from the point of view of supply, and reaches the conclusion that with a rise of 2.5% It would cover an economic amount of 25,195,391 euros, which, compared to forecast income of 25,202,686 euros, would yield a surplus of 7,295 euros, enough to balance the expected economic result.
In the numbers provided by Santa Cruz, these surpluses were much higher, 480,000 euros for the comprehensive service and 1.3 million in the case of supply, according to the report, and also higher than the real registered in 2021, which was 234,073 euros.
This price increase proposal is part of the agreement signed with Sacyr, the majority shareholder of Emmasa, for the return of the canon that the City Council denounced had been overcharged by the company, and which it estimated at around 38 million, which will be returned to the municipality at a rate of 3.3 million a year. In the same agreement it is stated that, in the event that the price increase is denied, it would be the Santa Cruz City Council that would assume the cost of the proposed increase. It remains to be seen if the Consistory will adjust the increase to that 2.5%, as well as if that decision will affect the agreement signed with Sacyr.
The decision of the Price Commission endorses the position adopted by the municipal opposition groups, who denounced at the time that linking it to the IPC had already been dismissed by the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC), the last time it was tried . From the PSOE, the former mayor Patricia Hernández, pointed out precisely that the report “highlights that the TSJC has already agreed with the Government of the Canary Islands that the water was not raised by the CPI.”
He added that, “with this report, it is shown that Bermúdez was working in favor of manipulating the figures that favor the company and go against the citizen interests of Santa Cruz, manipulating and inflating the numbers to raise the water rate that, in 2023 it would be double”.
The also deputy indicated that “it is something that the Commission has refused to support and that we have been denouncing since it was announced.” Hernández insisted that “Bermúdez lied with the numbers to benefit Sacyr against the citizens of Santa Cruz.”