February 20, 2008
France, Germany and six other member states have submitted proposals outlining a ‘third option’ for energy liberalisation. The full document argues that the Commission’s proposals to unbundle vertically-integrated energy firms will not achieve their desired effect in terms of more grid investments and lower energy prices.In its third liberalisation ‘package’ proposals unveiled on 19 September 2007, the Commission left member states with two options to complete the liberalisation of the EU gas and electricity sector:
- Forcing big energy firms to sell off their power transmission and gas storage assets in order to keep these activities fully separate from energy production (‘Ownership unbundling’), or;
- allowing firms to maintain ownership of their transmission assets but leave their management to an Independent System Operator (ISO) responsible for taking investment and commercial decisions.
The Commission has already made it clear that the ISO option is a fallback, with ‘ownership unbundling’ the preferred option. Such a drastic measure is necessary, according to the Commission, to guarantee non-discriminatory access to energy grids for smaller firms wishing to compete in markets dominated by vertically-integrated energy giants, such as EDF in France and E.ON in Germany.
But Germany and France vehemently oppose the Commission’s plans, and have been working to elaborate alternative proposals and garner the support of other member states in order to form an eventual blocking minority in the Council.
From Eur ActivAuthor : EMI