Iberdrola hides behind a mathematical model to create prices in an attempt to manipulate the market

This Wednesday, the National Court hosted the second day of the trial of Iberdrola Generación, a subsidiary of the Iberdrola Group, and its four directors, one of them retired, for the alleged manipulation of the price of electricity in the 2013 tariff. In a similar strategy to the one used a day earlier by the first two senior officials questioned, the other defendants denied there were any “instructions” to increase spending irregularly amid the cold snap and tensions. Due to interest deficit with the government. And once again they hid behind the “mathematical models” that their technicians use to place on the wholesale market the hydraulic power they offer for the hydraulic power generated by their reservoirs.

“There is no conduct attributable to Iberdrola that has consistently operated in a liberalized market.” There was no manipulation,” said Francisco de Borja Garcia, the company’s legal representative. This manager also tried to put a firewall between pricing decisions and the company’s top management. When questioned by the prosecutor, he stated that these were matters confined to the “branch” of energy management, which was then headed by another defendant, Angel Chiari. And that “they didn’t make it” either to the board of directors, which he placed in the “executive level” margins, or to the CEO, because “it wasn’t within his scope.” The rest of the accused also denied information or received instructions from the management.

Much of the questioning focused on the peculiarities of the pricing system by which the company makes offers in the wholesale market. The thesis of the accusations is that Iberdrola artificially inflated the price at which it offered power from its reservoirs in Duero, Tajo and Mino-Sil – which account for 50% of the technology’s capacity in Spain – until they came out. market due to the impossibility of “coincidence” of operations. And that in this way he removed from the electricity auction negotiations the production of plants that “stopped producing energy” and that were replaced by other, more expensive sources of energy.

According to the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, this irregular operation caused more than 107 million euros of damage, of which 96.7 million fell into the families’ pockets. The rest are “backed” by marketers – some posing as private prosecutors – and insurers. In contrast, it represented a benefit of 21.2 million for the power company.

In addition to the company accused as a legal entity, subordinates of the two directors who were questioned a day earlier also appeared on Wednesday. This is José Luis Rapun, who was in charge of asset management at the time of the events; and Javier Paradinas, who was then responsible for short-term markets and global generation. Both admitted that they participated in the so-called In weekly planning meetings where they decide what price to offer for hydropower, it is unclear from their responses who made the final decision on prices.

Again, both defined the pricing system by which offers are made in the market as automated. In this regard, Rapun stated that this decision is made through a “computer toolkit” and that he is a technician. [el “trader”] One that “decides” based on several parameters, such as demand forecast, renewables production, so-called production (expected rains) or fuel costs. And taking into account these “technical elements” a proposal is drawn up, which is considered “argumentative and technical”. “The machine is the mathematical models that we use to gather various predictions,” Paradinas added.

At this Wednesday’s hearing, the prosecutor insisted on the matter. And above all, he tried to find out whether it was the executive who made the final decision on the price. “Who says continue with that sentence?” [de la reunión del plan semanal]He asked Paradinas. The manager replied that it had been approved “collegiately” and that it would then be sent to “the whole management” who would consider it “quietly accepted”. Among the senior officials who received this information were the aforementioned Chiari and also the accused Gregorio Relanio, who was then in charge of optimization, the hierarchical superiors of those questioned this Wednesday. Both Rapun and Paradinas denied receiving “testimonials” from their superiors to determine the price.

The trial will resume on Thursday with the examination of witnesses proposed by the parties. Among them, in the following days, the former minister Jose Manuel Soria, who has already appeared in the investigation phase, is mentioned. Various experts, including CNMC technicians, will appear in court from mid-November. The trial is expected to be held on December 1.

Source: El Diario





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