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EU's power market proposals not enough to curb prices -Spain

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FILE PHOTO: High-voltage power lines and electricity pylons near Berlin

MADRID (Reuters) - Measures put forward by the European Commission to help member states manage stubbornly high power prices do not go far enough to tackle the problem, Spain said on Wednesday.

Record-high electricity and gas prices are hammering industry and inflating domestic power bills, stoking demands for action which the European Commission responded to with suggestions including the possibility of states jointly buying natural gas.

Spain's Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera, who has led calls among governments for European authorities to intervene, said Brussels had understood the economic impact of high global gas prices, but was not going far enough.

The proposals "do not address the exceptional situation we are in with exceptional measures that are sufficient for the challenge we are facing," Ribera said.

It was "very interesting" that the Commission's proposals included the possibility that the bloc could look to jointly build strategic reserves of gas, Ribera added.

She said she also "looked with satisfaction" on a pledge that the European Securities and Markets Authority would investigate the EU's carbon market, which Spain and the Czech Republic allege is being distorted by speculators.

Twenty of the EU's member states have drawn up emergency measures to handle the price spike.

Spain is more exposed than some of its neighbours to the price volatility due to the design of a common power tariff, and the government swooped to claw back what it saw as unfair profits from electricity companies.

Chief executives of 19 major power companies from across the bloc, including the biggest Enel, have written to European Union officials to "strongly caution against short-sighted political measures". The letter, dated Oct. 14 and seen by Reuters, does not single out any one country or set of measures.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie in Madrid and Kate Abnett in Brussels; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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