CEER Newsletter Special 20th Anniversary Edition
President Annegret Groebel’s message
It has been an unusual year for everyone and first of all my heart goes out to those in CEER, in the wider energy regulatory community and more broadly who have suffered as a result of Covid-19. I don’t usually write in the CEER Newsletter, leaving it to Secretariat staff, whom I thank for their hard work in this difficult year. However, with the 20th Anniversary of CEER, I thought that I would take a look at a few things that featured in 2020, while other past leaders of CEER take a look further back following my message.
Like so many organisations, CEER had to swiftly move to virtual meetings, from its General Assembly to small work streams. We have all gotten used to “please unmute!” and sharing our screens and the more serious work to keep virtual meetings as effective as the physical ones. With the Covid-19 situation, CEER’s national regulatory authorities (NRAs) had to respond, whether it was adjusting consumer billing rules or maintaining security of supply. CEER was a forum this year for NRAs to share best practices and lessons learnt as the crisis evolved. CEER formed a special group for this purpose and we expect to share some of their findings publicly in the coming months.
The move to a virtual work world meant that CEER’s representatives participated in numerous webinars as well organising our own instead of the usual physical workshops. CEER started with co-hosting with organisations such as ERRA, NARUC and IRENA (the last one for EUSEW) and eventually hosting webinars on its own, as well as a first-ever virtual CEER Customer Conference. Many of these webinars focused on changes in the energy sector and the changing role of regulators to support the energy transition. CEER is following closely the European Green Deal and related initiatives such as the strategies for smart sector integration, hydrogen, methane, offshore renewables and the TEN-E Revision. CEER also followed the New Consumer Agenda released this year, and updated its own vision for energy consumers along with European consumer association BEUC.
Internally, CEER has moved to a process of developing its work programme that looks at desired outcomes, not just outputs of papers that we hope will be better focused on CEER’s consumer-centric goals and the current 3D Strategy. CEER held elections for Vice Presidents in May and we welcomed a new Vice President to our Board, Mr Jean-Laurent Lastelle of French regulator CRE. CEER continued its multi-year European Commission project with African energy regulators of RAERESA and at the end of the year is at the cusp of concluding a new agreement with the European Commission to carry out part of Phase II of the EU4Energy Programme, starting in 2021.
It was an intense year for CEER, with many publications and activities under less than ideal conditions, while reacting to new challenges and initiatives. I hope that 2021 will bring a world in better health and where we can meet and see each other in person again. I look forward to seeing so many of you soon.
Reflections of past CEER leaders
Pippo Ranci, CEER Co-Founder and CEER Vice President, 2000-2003
The Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) was founded in Brussels on the 7 March 2000 on the basis of a common decision taken by 10 European regulators in London on the 22 January, and of an existing and working cooperation that was in place since 1996, through meetings to discuss specific issues concerning the similar mandates. This new association included the Norwegian regulator, so that its geographical extension was broader than the EU, and the subsequent evolution and strict collaboration with the European Commission did not prevent this broader scope. Indeed, a regulatory body should have the same extension as the market to be regulated, ideally. When political institutions do not cover the whole area, an association can perform the precious task of assuring the necessary coherence in the regulatory approach.
Asta Sihvonen-Punkka, CEER Vice President, 2005-2011
I participated in the regulators’ cooperation since the 2nd Florence Forum in 1999. The signing of the formal Memorandum to establish CEER took place in Vienna in 2001 where the 11 NRAs including the Finnish NRA I represented were present. Among the challenges were the ITC (Inter TSO compensation) model and the work within ERGEG related to the 3rd package where we as regulators proposed the concept of framework guidelines and also started two of them as pilots (grid connection as well as capacity allocation and congestion management) before the 3rd package came into force. The Florence fora were memorable with fully packed meeting rooms either in Fiesole or in the centre in Convitto della Calza. In addition to concluding remarks the fora were characterised by Florentine cuisine from ribollita to steak Fiorentina. I truly miss those times and the exciting moments we had when developing the internal market.
Lord John Mogg, CEER President, 2003-2017
It was my great pleasure to chair CEER after Jorge Vasconcelos had become its first President. What was achieved initially by CEER in bringing the Union’s independent energy regulators together was a far greater understanding of each others’ national regulatory arrangements. This pioneered the formalisation of the cooperation among energy regulators which was an invaluable foundation for the new the EU Agency, ACER. CEER has become a cohesive group and the voice of European energy regulators at EU and international fronts. It developed collective and visionary initiatives contributing to the creation of an internal energy market to the great benefit of consumers, many of these proposals formed the basis for European Commission proposals. CEER has significantly led the way to international cooperation and the sharing of regulatory best practice worldwide through the establishment of the International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER) and has brought together similar associations from across the globe. During my 10-plus years as President, I had the pleasure to serve alongside Europe’s finest regulators and four Secretary Generals, Una Shortall, Fay Geitona, Natalie McCoy and Andrew Ebrill. Along with the excellent headquarters in Brussels, CEER maintained its strong presence and contribution even after the Agency has been established.
Fay Geitona, CEER Secretary General, 2006-2011
I am proud to have served as Secretary General of CEER which achieved fascinating results in setting the foundations for the voluntary cooperation of the European energy regulators and in developing it further at the European and international levels across the globe. CEER has provided a solid basis for the IEM by making a reality cooperation among energy regulators across borders and beyond national perspectives which has been key in promoting a European mind-set for energy regulation for the consumer welfare. I was impressed by the strong sense of community, the level of commitment and achievements of the energy regulators and the CEER President Lord Mogg at the time I was Secretary General, in contributing to the integration of the internal energy market through effective energy regulation. The CEER success was instrumental in the evolution of the cooperation between regulatory authorities within a Community structure through the establishment of ACER in order to address the broader profound challenges of the energy system and market integration which require action beyond national borders. Happy 20th anniversary CEER!
Andrew Ebrill, CEER Secretary General, 2016-2019
A grim day to recall was the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 March 2016, when there were coordinated and deadly explosions in the morning at the airport and on the metro. On that terrible day, our primary focus in CEER was to check if all Secretariat staff and the many personnel travelling to our office for meetings were safe. Thankfully, they all were. A heart-warming memory was how staff in CEER and its regulators did their best to help, making sure that everyone was safe and, given that the airport and public transport in Brussels were closed, assisting people with travel/accommodation arrangements. People from across Europe coming together to help – in its own way, showing what CEER is all about. It took a while for Brussels to return to normal after those shocking attacks, but recover it did, something to give hope during these pandemic times.