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Spain Sets Higher Electricity Prices After Government Auction

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Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Spanish businesses and consumers will pay more for electricity after a government-run power auction today set higher benchmark prices.

The cost of power rose to 54.18 euros ($71.33) per megawatt-hour of electricity in the first quarter of next year, compared with 49.25 euros in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a statement from Spanish market operator Omel. This will be reflected as a three percent gain in electricity prices for consumers, Europa Press reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

“Power prices should be a reflection of what the market says, and government intervention should be minimal if not non-existent,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said yesterday in Madrid.

Electricity prices will solely depend on auction results for 2013, if a proposal from the Industry Ministry to freeze access charges, or the regulated half of power prices, is approved by the National Commission of Energy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in Madrid at playa2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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