Spain Scolds Iberdrola Over ‘Scandalous’ Draining of Reservoir

The Spanish government dealt out a rebuke to Iberdrola SA after the utility’s hydropower activities caused water levels at a reservoir in the west of the country to drop dramatically, sparking outrage from nearby communities.

The Ricobayo reservoir, in the western province of Zamora, is about 11% full after the Bilbao-based utility drained 1,000 hectometers in about five months, according to government data.

“We sent a letter to Iberdrola telling them this isn’t not acceptable,” Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera told broadcaster laSexta in an interview Friday. Describing the situation as “scandalous,” she said Iberdrola’s activities were “probably legitimate, but still not reasonable.”

A spokesperson for Iberdrola declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

The water level at Ricobayo of 645 meters (2,116 feet) above sea level is higher than the 641 meters stipulated in its concession terms, the company has said previously, adding that it operates the reservoir in compliance with the contract.

Meanwhile, the government continues to look at ways to address soaring power prices. Among the steps it may consider is the creation of public company to manage hydroelectric power generation, Ribera told Cadena Ser radio in an interview Thursday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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