Brussels, 11 March 2010
Benchmarking Report: correct implementation of EU energy law and infrastructure investment top priority
Member States still lack behind in the implementation of the internal energy market rules. In its 2009 Benchmarking Report adopted today, the European Commission gives a mixed picture of the accomplishment of the internal energy market.
Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner responsible for Energy said: " A well functioning internal energy market will provide the right investment signals and will bring clear benefits for electricity and gas consumers across the EU. The full and correct implementation of the energy rules has still not been achieved. This situation needs to change and the Commission will use all means available to make this happen. What is at stake is our ability to reach the goals set in the Europe 2020 Strategy through a secure, competitive and sustainable supply of energy to our economy and our society. "
The 2009 Benchmarking Report reveals that the correct transposition of the European electricity and gas legislation in all Member States is still not complete. The Third Internal Energy Market Package adopted in 2009 provides for clearer sector specific rules and thus for incentives to invest. The challenge the EU faces is to accelerate investments in energy infrastructure to enhance cross border trade, access to diversified sources of energy and in particular from renewable sources.
The report also highlights the impact of the financial and economic crisis on the internal energy market. Reduced economic activity resulted in a significant fall in the consumption of gas and electricity. This lower consumption has had an important impact on the international oil prices which in turn influence gas and electricity prices. However, the fall witnessed in oil prices on the international market has not been entirely reflected in end user gas and electricity prices. The Report also indicates that there are still high levels of concentration on the retail and wholesale market.
The financial and economic crisis also created new opportunities for competition, since more gas is available at lower prices on liquid hubs. The work of national regulatory authorities tends to shift the focus towards the consumer, including the roll-out of smart meters as the key to smart grids in the internal energy market. This is a welcome trend for the deployment of active participation by customers in the internal energy market and increased energy efficiency and large-scale integration of renewables, as well as additional energy services, increased market transparency and easier supplier switching. Additionally, cooperation between European power exchanges, as well as the ongoing trend of increasing trade, is a promising sign of functioning markets.
The " Communication from the Commission to the Council and Parliament "Report on progress in creating the internal gas and electricity market (2009)" is the yearly "benchmarking report" of the European Commission. Such a report is an obligation imposed on the Commission by directives 2003/54 and 2003/55 on the internal market of electricity and of gas. It describes progress achieved in the development of the internal market of electricity and of gas during 2009.
The two major sources for the Benchmarking Report are the national reports by energy regulators as well as Eurostat data.
The benchmarking reports can be viewed here: