Consumers advised to change electricity supplier “if bills go up in July”

Advice comes from candidate to board of energy regulator ERSE, currently director of tariffs

The candidate for member of the board of energy services regulator ERSE, Isabel Apolinário, has today advised consumers who suffer an increase in their electricity bills from this month to switch to a supplier with more competitive rates.

“What I advise is, if they see an increase in their bills, they should look for simulation tools, and they should change supplier if they can get a more competitive offer,” she told a parliamentary hearing at the Environment and Energy Commission, when questioned about the increase in network access tariffs set by ERSE, and the impact it may have on consumers’ final bills.

Candidate for the position of member of the Board – who has obtained consensus from the parties regarding her curriculum and technical capacity for the position – Isabel Apolinário confirmed that, following the increase in grid access tariffs from July 1, there have been situations in which the final price will increase, but also cases in which the price remains the same, or even goes down.

On June 15, ERSE approved the proposal for the exceptional setting of grid access tariffs, to take effect from 1 July, to adapt them “to current market conditions,” arising from, among other things, “the updating of General Economic Interest Costs (CIEG) associated with electricity generation, whose benefit for grid access tariffs will be less than initially estimated” for this year.

At the end of a council of European Union (EU) ministers with the Energy portfolio in Luxembourg, Environment Minister Duarte Cordeiro said that “there has to be a balance”.

During today’s hearing, Apolinário (currently director of ERSE’s tariffs) said that “nowadays the diversity of offers that exist in the market, and also the regulated tariff, effectively allow consumer protection”. 

She added that in the regulated market, there is no change in the final price.

When asked about the regulated tariff – expected to end at the end of 2025 and maintenance of which is defended by the PCP communist party – she said that, in a reform of the electricity model that is being prepared at a European level, “there is recognition of the role that the regulated tariff has to protect consumers”.

“I think that there will also be news there and that this announced end of regulated tariffs will not be quite the same in the future,” she added.

Isabel Apolinário, who has worked at ERSE since 1998, is the name the government has proposed to join the board made up of Pedro Verdelho (chair) and Ricardo Loureiro (member), for a six-year term.

After the opinion of parliament – which should be positive, taking into account today’s hearing – Isabel Apolinário should be formally nominated through a cabinet resolution.