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EU Commissioner for Energy

The New Governance for the Internal Energy Market and ACER

Speech of Commissioner Oettinger at the Conference on the occasion of the opening of ACER

Ljubljana, 3 March 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, Minister Radic,

This morning, we have participated in the official opening of ACER and I think that I was not the only one to enjoy this truly European moment.

I then already underlined the wider importance of ACER as institutional backbone for the legislative measures of the Third energy package and as platform for the cooperation of Europe's energy regulators.

As the idea of this conference is to discuss the new governance for the internal market, I should like to use the next minutes to set out how we, the European Commission, see the institutional architecture of the internal market under the new rules.

This new architecture involves the European Commission, ACER and the ENTSOs as well as the national energy regulators in the European Union.

Let me start with our own tasks, the tasks of the European Commission.

Tasks of the European Commission

The European Commission will exercise several roles.

A first task is to propose legislative initiatives.

The Commission will not only continue to adopt its own legally binding Guidelines, but it will also initiate legislative initiatives by setting annual priorities for ACER's Framework Guidelines.

We intend to set these annual priorities, as before, in an interactive way. We will continue to discuss our ideas in the Madrid and Florence Fora to provide regulators and industry to contribute to our priority setting. Clearly, we will also continue to discuss our priorities with the director of ACER, its Board of Regulators and the ENTSOs.

A second task for the Commission is to closely follow the process of drafting framework guidelines and network codes, as we have powers to reject both Framework Guidelines and network codes.

When will we exercise this discretion?

Whenever we feel that a draft Framework Guideline is not sufficiently ambitious to achieve the internal market. If already the Framework Guidelines are not ambitious, then the legally binding network codes cannot be effective either.

Third, the Commission will exercise supervisory tasks as regards the work of ACER when it comes to the achievement of ACER's Work Programme but also with respect to individual decisions which are subject to the Commission's review such as in the area of exemptions.

Tasks of ACER

From the Commission's perspective, ACER is more than "ERGEG plus".

Both the governance of ACER and its powers to take binding decisions are a step change to the cooperation platform which ERGEG could provide to national regulators.

Under the able chairmanship of John Mogg, ACER's Board of Regulators will from now on decide on all kind of regulatory matters with a cross border nature.

I also trust that the Administrative Board under its Chair Piotr Wozniak will encourage director Alberto Pototschnig to draw up ambitious work programmes, a modern management structure and appropriate rules for ACER's staff and working groups.

Third Countries in ACER

Regarding the participation of third countries in ACER, I welcome that representatives from the European Economic Area and from the Energy Community are here today.

Let me use this opportunity to clarify that ACER should in our views in principle be open to observers from regulators of third countries. The European Economic Area and the Contracting Parties to the Energy Community as well as our neighbouring countries are our partners.

A precondition for your participation in ACER is, of course, that your countries transpose and apply the Third energy package entirely, both for electricity and gas, and contribute to ACER's budget in an appropriate way.

Tasks of ENTSOs

As of today, the European Networks for Transmission System Operators will equally play an important role in the architecture of the internal market.

Mr. Dobbeni (ENTSOE) and Mr. Kamphues (ENTSOG) will have to ensure that the tight time frame for transposing ACER's Framework Guidelines into network codes is kept and that the codes live up to the standards of the Guidelines.

Your Ten Year Network Development Plans will be a crucial tool to deliver on the aims of the Infrastructure Package.

And we are looking forward to your recommendations as regards the technical coordination between the European Union and third country transmission system operators.

You may know that Russia has flagged its interest in a new form of cooperation mechanism between its transmission system operators and the transmission system operators of the Baltic countries.

Tasks of National Regulators

Last but not least, a few words about the important role of national regulators.

As I said this morning, I encourage all national regulators to make use of their full independence from national ministries to liberalise national energy markets and open them to new efficient players from outside.

In the long run, closed markets will remain high price countries without innovation. And such markets simply do not work properly for industry and consumers.

Also, the certification of Transmission System Operators will be one of your new important tasks under the Third package.

Only where the stringent conditions of the internal market rules are fulfilled, the Commission can agree to ISO and ITO solutions as alternatives to full ownership unbundling of transmission system operators.

Concluding remarks

With these words, I should like to hand over to director Pototschnig.

I look forward to our discussion.

Thank you for your attention.

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