UPDATE 1-Spain cuts 2014 power remuneration and raises tariffs

Mon Feb 3, 2014 8:51am EST

* Spain cuts disbursements for distributors by 10 percent

* Raises fixed access tariffs for consumers by 18 percent

* Keeps remuneration for Red Electrica at 1.62 billion euros (Adds tariff hike for consumers)

MADRID, Feb 3 (Reuters) - The Spanish government has cut disbursements for electricity distributors while raising the fixed tariffs that consumers pay for the amount of electricity contracted, in a move to reduce a large deficit in the power system.

The new rates are part of a series of government measures aimed at curbing a 30-billion-euro ($40.5 billion) electricity tariff deficit, created after years of a mismatch in regulated prices and costs.

In a state bulletin published on Saturday, the government said it would disburse 4.57 billion euros in regulated revenues for electricity distributors such as Endesa and Iberdrola in 2014, down 10 percent from a year ago and below expectations.

The funds come out of power bills paid by consumers, which are divided into regulated and non-regulated items.

Meanwhile, the fixed fees that consumers pay for the amount of electricity they contract will increase by 18 percent, ensuring revenues for the sector even if consumers try to reduce their energy use.

Spanish electricity bills are among the highest in Europe and have risen 35 percent in the past five years, according to consumer group FACUA.

Among the 2014 payments for the country's three main power distributors, Endesa will receive 1.98 billion euros, Iberdrola 1.57 billion euros and Gas Natural 723 million euros.

Banco Sabadell said in a note to clients that the total was 6.6 percent below the amount expected by the market and was negative for the distributors.

Regulated distribution revenues account for 25 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for Endesa, 18 percent for Iberdrola and 12 percent for Gas Natural, it said.

Spain also set the regulated rates for transportation at 1.66 billion euros, with the vast majority going to national electricity grid operator Red Electrica, in line with the amount flagged by the company last month.

Red Electrica was one of the top gainers of the day on Thursday, up 1.33 percent at 1340 GMT, to 52.6 euros per share, outperforming the benchmark IBEX index which was down 0.35 percent.

In early trade several of the power distributors fell sharply, which traders said was due to the remuneration decision, but in mid-afternoon trade Iberdrola and Gas Natural were almost flat, while Endesa was up 0.69 percent.

($1 = 0.7415 euros) (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Pravin Char)

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