Brussels, 2 March 2011
New impetus for internal market: Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators takes up operations in Slovenia
Energy Commissioner Oettinger and Prime Minister of Slovenia Borut Pahor will inaugurate tomorrow the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. ACER will help removing technical obstacles to cross-border energy trade, will coordinate activities of national energy regulators and will help solving possible conflicts between them. This will help increasing competition, ensuring fair prices for both consumers and companies. The opening of the agency coincides with the coming into force of the third energy package on internal market.
Günther Oettinger, Commissioner responsible for energy, said: "It is our priority to remove all barriers to the internal energy market so that energy can flow freely everywhere in the EU. The single European energy market must become a reality for all businesses and consumers by 2014."
Alberto Pototschnig, Director of ACER, said: "The agency will ensure that the network development planning fosters the integration of national energy markets, including those which are currently isolated or poorly connected;
ACER will complement national energy regulators with an EU-level regulatory oversight. Notably, ACER will be responsible for:
drafting framework guidelines for the operation of cross-border gas pipelines and electricity networks. Based on these guidelines the operators of pipelines and electricity networks will establish concrete rules;
checking that these rules are consistent with these framework guidelines;
reviewing the implementation of the EU-wide ten-year network development plans as well as national network development plans;
deciding cross-border issues, if national regulators cannot agree or ask ACER to intervene. This includes the method by which operators can sell the very lucrative capacities during peak hours, when demand is high;
monitoring the functioning of the internal market, including retail prices, available network access for electricity produced from renewables and respect of consumer rights. Each year the agency will publish a report on its findings and it may suggest to the Commission and the European Parliament measures that help remove barriers to the completion of the internal market.
ACER was established by Regulation (EC) No 713/2009 of 13 July 2009. The Regulation is part of the Third energy package which provides an effective regulatory framework for the development of open, integrated and competitive energy markets in the EU.
The Third energy package includes key provisions for a proper functioning of the markets, including new rules on unbundling of networks, rules strengthening the independence and the powers of national regulators and rules on the improvement of the functioning of retail markets to the benefit of consumers. The Third energy package consists of two Directives and three Regulations. The two Directives have to be transposed into national law by Member States by 3 March 2011. The three Regulations do not need such transposition by Member States and are directly applicable in all Member States as of this date.
Further information on the Third Energy Package here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/legislation/legislation_en.htm
The new ACER website here: http://acer.europa.eu/