EnergyNews has interviewed Emilio Rousaud, CEO Factorenergia and president of the Association of Independent Energy Traders, ACIE, and a privileged witness to the whole liberalization process of the electricity sector.
Factorenería was constituted after the enactment of Law 54/1997, of November 27, of liberalization of the Electricity Sector and was the first non-existing company that was founded exclusively to be an operator in the free market. Until that time, Emilio Rousaud, its current CEO, worked in the financial area of a multinational. He strongly believes in what he calls the vectors of the future, such as the electric car or self-consumption.
How have you experienced the changes that happened in the sector all these years?
At the time of our inception, in 1999, Law 54/1997 envisaged a gradual liberalization of the market that ended in 2012 for the domestic segment. We went through all the stages. It has been an exciting journey.
In 2000 we got the first customer. That same year we were the first in Spain to make a price coverage contract with Enron, which no longer exists. And in 2001, we created a product indexed to the wholesale market that is currently held by consumers who are in the regulated market. It has been a very intense experience.
What do you base your energy and price proposal on?
We offer a competitive price and a series of services, especially to small and medium companies, oriented to energy efficiency, focused on consumption habits and the elimination of superfluous consumption.
Can you show us a practical case of this type of services?
A couple of years ago we started a project in the domestic segment called ” Factor Smarthome “. In this context, we conducted a study that concluded that a concrete home with a contracted power of 4.4 kW could save 30%, equivalent to 200 euro per year.
In your advertising you offer green energy. Does it apply to all the energy that you trade or are there specific contracts?
Commitment in the fight against climate change is a core value of Factorenergia. This involves, firstly, to encourage energy efficiency and then to promote everything that has to do with renewable energies, ie their consumption, their development…
[Pullquote] “The electric vehicle is a great destination for surplus energy that is generated at night and would favor the development of renewables. These are two factors that nurture one another” [/ pullquote]
More recently we are also heavily involved with the electric car but always with a slow charging approach, because we understand that in the concept of fast charging efficiency is questionable. We think that the electric vehicle is a great destination for surplus energy that is generated at night and would favor the development of renewables. These are two factors that nurture one another.
So do you only trade renewable energy?
No, we market energy with our own mix, which is quite green. But we offer certified green energy to all those consumers who have some environmental awareness.
In the case of a family that has a PVPC contract, can they contract with you while maintaining their type of regulated rate contract?
Yes. We offer two types of contracts. A contract that is equivalent to the PVPC with a variable rate and a fixed price contract. These days, where electricity prices are so high, having fixed price being highly valued, but we must also be aware that last year, when the price of energy was particularly low, consumers with variable price would have paid less.
[Pullquote] ” As Factorenergia, the only thing that we can like of the variable PVPC is that the consumer has the option of making a proactive management of their own demand, modulating their consumption” [/ pullquote]
Anyway, as Factorenergia, the only thing that we can like of the variable PVPC is that the consumer has the option of making a proactive management of their own demand, modulating their consumption.
If a user has a free contract with Factorenergía and sees that he is not interested after a while, can he recover his previous PVPC rate with Factorenergía? In what time frame?
Yes and from the first moment because with us the client has no permanence.
Thousands of users are being re-invoiced for alleged irregularities in their meters. The company directly charges thousands of euros with no prior warning. What is your experience on this area and how do you act?
Distributors are those who typically detect this because they are legally responsible for the meter reading. So, what they usually do in that case is to open a fraud file and require us to do the re-invoicing the client.
We advise the client because there are a series of formal and non-formal requirements that need to be complied with to issue an inspection report stating that a consumer has committed fraud.
[Pullquote] “We have found three cases in which a consumer has been the victim of an alleged energy consultant who has told him that he would make a series of adjustments in his installation to get savings while in fact what he has done is to manipulate the meter without his knowledge “[/ pullquote]
It must be confirmed that the certificate is correctly signed, that the distributor has verified everything and that the calculations on the energy not invoiced are correctly made.
Our experience is very curious because we have found three cases in which a consumer has been the victim of an alleged energy consultant who has told him that he would make a series of adjustments in his installation to get savings while in fact what he has done is to manipulate the meter without his knowledge.
Are you in favor of repealing the “sun tax” for self-consumers?
In Spain what is intended is to set gate keepers. There is a reality in Germany or the United States and is that every two minutes someone is setting up a self-consumption facility.
[Pullquote] ” In Spain what is intended is to set gate keepers. There is a reality in Germany or the United States and is that every two minutes someone is setting up a self-consumption facility ” [/ pullquote]
We are in favor of self-consumption and believe that it has many advantages. We are very supportive of the distributed generation and that the generation not controlled by the large utilities increases because in the end we atomize the market.
That is to say, there are things that are taking place in Spain that do not make any sense such as the “tax to the sun” issue. This does not exist in any country in the world.
Does self-consumption not go counter your interests as a trader?
Quite the opposite. Self-consumption does not go against our economic interests. What’s more, Factorenergia represents 1,700 small photovoltaic producers in the electricity market. There will be an island self-consumption but there will be another type of self-consumption in which the self producer needs to export energy to the network at times when he does not need it and in these cases the traders can help the final consumer.