March 19, 2008
To make the internal market work for all consumers whether large or small, and to help the EU achieve more secure, competitive and sustainable energy, the Commission is proposing a number of measures to complement the existing rules.
- Separation of production and supply from transmission networks: Network ownership and operation should be “unbundled”. This refers to the separation between the network operation of electricity and gas from supply and generation activities. The proposals make it clear that the Commission’s preferred option in this respect is ownership unbundling – in other words that a single company can no longer own both transmission and be occupied in energy production or supply activities. In addition, the Commission proposes a second option, the “independent system operator” which makes it possible for existing vertically integrated companies to retain network ownership, but provided that the assets are actually operated by a company or body completely independent from it. Either one of these options will create new incentives for companies to invest in new infrastructure, inter-connection capacity and new generation capacity, thereby avoiding black-outs and unnecessary price surges.
- The Commission recognizes the strategic importance of Energy Policy. Therefore the package contains safeguards to ensure that in the event that companies from third countries wish to acquire a significant interest or even control over an EU network, they will have to demonstrably and unequivocally comply with the same unbundling requirements as EU companies. The Commission can intervene where a purchaser cannot demonstrate both its direct and indirect independence from supply and generation activities.
- Facilitating cross-border energy trade: The Commission proposes to establish an Agency for the cooperation of National Energy Regulators, with binding decision powers, to complement National Regulators. This will ensure the proper handling of cross-border cases and enable the EU to develop a real European network working as one single grid, promoting diversity and security of supply.
- More effective national regulators: the Commission proposes measures to strengthen and guarantee the independence of national regulators in Member States.
- Promoting cross border collaboration and investment: The Commission proposes a new European Network for Transmission System Operators. EU grid operators would cooperate and develop common commercial and technical codes and security standards, as well as plan and coordinate the investments needed at EU level. This would also ease cross border trade and create a more level playing field for operators.
- Greater transparency: Steps to improve market transparency on network operation and supply will guarantee equal access to information, make pricing more transparent, increase trust in the market and help avoid market manipulation.
- Increased solidarity: by bringing national markets closer together, the Commission foresees more potential for Member States to assist one another in the face of energy supply threats.
From CommissionAuthor : EMI