Regulators praise the Council for tackling the elephant in the room - energy prices, costs and competitiveness
Brussels, 13 June 2014
• Engaging consumers needs to be embedded in energy policy • Using existing interconnector capacity efficiently mitigates the need for new build • Speaking with one voice externally benefits energy security
The Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER1) warmly welcomes the Council conclusions on energy prices and costs, protection of vulnerable consumers and competitiveness, adopted at today’s Energy Council meeting2.
Lord Mogg, CEER President stated “Actions to address these issues are welcomed – the timely adoption of network codes will help complete the Internal Energy Market, energy efficiency will reduce consumption and active consumers will enhance and benefit from competition. Together, these achievements will also reinforce Europe’s energy security.”
Regulators welcome the Council’s emphasis on well-functioning wholesale and retail markets (including the link between the two) and on strengthening the role, rights and awareness of consumers, and underline that effective regulatory independence and powers (including enforcement) are essential to promoting proper market functioning to the benefit of consumers.
Engaging consumers needs to be embedded in energy policy CEER is at the forefront of developing competitive retail markets in which consumers can engage and exert their choice3.
Lord Mogg added: “New, dynamic and ‘smart’ services can help consumers to optimise their energy consumption while at the same time supporting the efficiency of our networks. But real competition, including accurate price signals, is a prerequisite for getting the most out of our future markets.”
Using existing interconnector capacity efficiently mitigates the need for new build Regarding the Council’s call for rapid improvements in interconnections, Lord Mogg underlined “Strengthened interconnection is important but making efficient use of existing capacity and investing in smarter networks is also crucial.”
Speaking with one voice externally benefits energy security On the Council’s conclusions on the external dimension of EU energy policy and the need to strengthen the external bargaining power of the EU vis-à-vis external suppliers, Lord Mogg stated “Europe needs to speak with one voice in external energy policy, as CEER has done for regulators for more than a decade, sharing our experiences and regulatory approaches far and wide. The situation in the Ukraine has brought our continuing work on non-discriminatory access to gas storage and the impact on security of supply sharply into focus. We will continue to contribute in practical ways on issues that assist market functioning and security of supply. We hope to contribute to the delivery of the Council’s external dimension proposals in concrete ways.”4
Notes for Editors:
1. The Council of European Energy Regulatory (CEER) is the voice of Europe’s national energy regulators. Its members and observers, from 33 European countries, are the independent statutory bodies responsible for energy regulation at national level. Visit www.ceer.eu.
2. Following the publication (22 January 2014) of the European Commission Communication ”Energy prices and costs in Europe” and separate Report, the Council held a public policy debate on the Commission communication and the March 2014 European Council conclusions called on Member States “to further examine their different national practices on energy policy levies, tax components of prices and network costs, with the objective of minimising negative consequences for energy prices.” The European Council in March 2014 confirmed the priority given to completing the Internal Energy Market by 2014 and developing interconnectors so as to put an end to any isolation of Member States from European gas and electricity networks. The Council Conclusions adopted at the 13 June 2014 Energy Council recall the need to complete the Internal Energy Market by 2014, the need for a coherent approach in the EU’s external energy relations with third countries, and the need to strengthen the role, rights and awareness of consumers and to assist consumers in vulnerable situations.
3. This week and next, CEER issues two public consultations: one on involving consumers in the regulatory process; the other on our draft work programme for 2015. In the year ahead, we plan to initiate a strategic debate on retail competition, what are its key components and what can be done if it is not functioning properly. At the CEER Customer Conference (18 June), on the theme Retail Energy Markets, supporters of CEER’s 2020 Customer Vision (developed in 2012) will showcase how they are applying the key principles of the Vision. During the EU Sustainable Energy Week later this month, we will also be issuing regulators’ final advice on ensuring market and regulatory arrangements help deliver demand-side flexibility.
4. CEER regularly monitors the situation of gas storage in Europe, including the implementation of European legislation requiring a fair access regime for the storage facilities, given the importance of storage as flexibility tool for network users for supplying their customers. We have also developed Guidelines of Good Practice for Third Party Access (TPA) for Storage System Operators (GGPSSO) in gas, regarding the provisions on capacity allocation (CAM) and congestion management (CMP). Clear and consistent rules and treatment of gas storage are essential to ensure non-discriminatory access to storage capacity, particularly as it is often the most suitable tool for flexibility purposes and in support of security of supply (other flexibility tools include import contracts, line pack, interruptible contracts, LNG and hub related products). Following a request from the Gas Regulatory (Madrid) Forum, CEER and Gas Storage Europe (GSE) are collaborating on a joint vision for gas storage, to be presented to the October 2014 Madrid Forum.
Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) www.ceer.eu