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16.01.2007 » Pressrelease » General
Time to Deliver
European Energy Regulators call for new legislation to put Single Energy Market back on track


The European Energy Regulators welcome the Commission’s “Strategic Energy Review”
Strong support for a “third package” of EU liberalisation legislation, including the creation of a comprehensive framework for independent energy regulation at national and EU level
Investment and competition remain central to achieving the EU’s objectives of security, sustainability and competitiveness

The European Energy Regulators welcome the publication of the European Commission’s “Strategic Energy Review”, and strongly endorse the call for new EU legislation to put the single energy market project back on track. Competition and investment remain at the heart of a comprehensive EU regulatory framework if the EU is to meet its energy objectives of security, sustainability and competitiveness.

Sir John Mogg, Chairman of the European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG), commented: “The Commission underlines that the current system has not yet delivered and urgently needs fixing. Given growing concerns about the security of Europe’s energy supplies, a modern framework for investment and competition is essential. A European market place requires the development of network and other infrastructure and this will need to be financed by massive investment. Without a stable, modern and independent regulatory framework and fair access to all pipes and wires investors will be reluctant to dig deep to meet these new challenges.”

In response to the final report of the Commission’s “Sector Inquiry” (published alongside the new strategy highlighting widespread barriers to competition), Sir John said: “Our suspicions are confirmed. The case for change is overwhelming and the Commission must continue to be bold. Good intentions need to be matched by the political will to deliver.” The Sector Inquiry confirms that Europe needs a substantial strengthening of the powers of independent regulators and enhanced European coordination.

European Energy Regulators believe new EU legislation is needed to:
Create the regulatory climate necessary for investment in the European network and other infrastructures which are essential for Europe’s security of supply and competitiveness
Provide for EU level regulatory co-operation and decision-making
Ensure the separation of the monopoly networks from competitive businesses, preferably through so-called “ownership unbundling”
Guarantee the powers and independence of national regulators

Pointing out that each of these elements are needed, Sir John stated “There cannot be a trade-off for Member States to either put in place strong, independent regulators or alternatively to use structural remedies such as effective unbundling. Both elements are needed”.
On the options put forward for achieving effective unbundling Sir John said, “Ownership unbundling is the most effective means of avoiding discrimination. Moreover, the greater the degree of unbundling the less additional, intrusive regulation is needed.”
On the controversial question of whether to create a “European regulator” Sir John said: “I believe it would be inappropriate to create a new body at this stage of the development of the European market. I firmly believe that, with the right support, the better alternative is to make greater use of existing structures – notably the European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) which needs to be developed from being only an advisory body and into a decision-making body.”

The European Regulators will continue to provide formal advice to the Commission on the detail of future legislation in early 2007.
Ends
10 January 2007
Notes to Editors:
1.The Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) is the European association of independent national energy regulators from the Member States of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Its overall aim is to facilitate the creation of a single competitive, efficient and sustainable internal market for gas and electricity in Europe. CEER website address: www.ceer-eu.org. The European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) was established by the European Commission in 2003 as its advisory group on Internal Energy Market issues. ERGEG is the formal means by which European energy regulators advise the Commission. www.ergeg.org.

2.The European Commission launched a sector inquiry (under Article 17 Regulation 1/2003) into the gas and electricity markets in June 2005 to determine the main barriers to competition. Based on its Preliminary Report (February 2006), specific competition law investigations were initiated by the European Commission which included dawn raids in May 2006 on the premises of gas and electricity companies in six Member States. Today (10th January 2006) the European Commission published its conclusions on the Energy Sector Inquiry which confirms the key barriers to competition already identified in its Preliminary Report. See http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/antitrust/others/sector_inquiries/energy.

 

Council of European Energy Regulators ASBL
Una Shortall
Phone: + 32 2 788 73 30
Email: una.shortall@ceer-eu.org
URL: http://www.ceer-eu.org
 

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