sábado, noviembre 11, 2006

Commission Adopts New Rules for Managing Electricity Cross-border Trade in the EU

Brussels, 9 November 2006

The Commission adopted amended guidelines for managing the electricity cross-border trade in the EU today. These new rules improve the way the electricity transmission system in the EU is operated. They require improved cooperation between Transmission System Operators (TSOs) to allocate cross-border flows and manage bottlenecks in the transmission network. TSOs have to use a common method to allocate transmission capacity considering the European network as one single network.

"The blackout last Saturday demonstrated how important proper management of the European electricity transmission network is. These guidelines are a great step forward in the development of the internal energy market, and a positive example of improved cooperation between regulators", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

These guidelines have been adopted days after Commissioner Piebagls’ call for an urgent meeting of the group of regulators to investigate in the causes of the blackout. The Commissioner will propose in January a set of measures to permit Transmission System Operators to work in a legally established group with a mechanism to adopt legally binding security and operational rules. Currently, TSOs work on voluntary agreements with no enforcement system to monitor the application of their voluntary rules.

On the other hand, ERGEG, the Group of European Energy Regulators, have the power to prepare guidelines like the ones approved today, which are consequently adopted by the Commission after a positive opinion by the Electricity cross-border committee where Member States are represented.

These "Guidelines on the management and allocation of available transfer capacity of interconnections between national systems" or often called "congestion management guidelines" contain a series of rules which aim at efficient use of the European electricity network with full respect to security requirements. They will lead to harmonisation of the cross-border trade in Europe, allowing different products to be traded with different durations from yearly down to intra-day timeframes.

In the guidelines Europe is divided into seven regions based on the physical reality of the network. South-East Europe will be the eighth region applying the same rules through the Energy Community Treaty. This regional approach is a pragmatic intermediate step towards a fully integrated internal electricity market.

Transparency is a central topic in the guidelines. A full set of information on the transmission network, on electricity trade and flows as well as on power plants need to be published in order to create a level playing field for market participants.

The guidelines adopted by the Commission amend the existing guidelines which are annexed to the regulation 1228/2006 on cross-border trade in electricity. These amended guidelines enter into force twenty days after their publication in the official journal.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs Reacts to Saturday's Blackouts

Brussels, 6 November 2006

A serious incident on the continental European electricity network on Saturday lead to blackouts over most of the system. The precise reasons why this happened are presently being examined by the Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) and more information is expected to be provided later today.

Commissioner Piebalgs stated that "whilst these blackouts lasted for relatively short periods of time, they are unacceptable. The EU needs an internal market based on the very highest levels of system security. These incidents show, once again, that events in one part of Europe impact on other parts and again confirm the need for a proper European energy policy. Energy security is better delivered through a common European approach rather than 27 different approaches."

I have written to UCTE as well as to the European Transmission System Operators (ETSO) requesting that they rapidly establish the precise cause of the blackout and establish the measures that will be taken to ensure that it does not reoccur. In addition, I have asked the European Regulators Group to meet as soon as possible to provide a report to the Commission on the lessons to be learned from this event.

However, this also demonstrates that the existing situation regarding network security in Europe needs to be strengthened. It must be a key part of the European Energy Policy to be announced by the Commission at the beginning of next year. In particular I intend to propose to the College (i) that a formal European grouping of Transmission System Operators be created at EU level which will have the task of putting forward common positions on issues identified by the Commission and in particularly network security standards, (ii) institute a mechanism to ensure that these standards are formally binding on network operators and (iii) propose a European Priority Interconnection Plan to make quicker progress on ensuring that essential new interconnectors are built."