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Public consultation on priorities for Network Codes and Guidelines for 2018

The European Commission has opened a public consultation to consult stakeholders on priorities of network codes for electricity until the 20th December 2017.

The consultation is opened to public authorities, Member States authorities, private organisations, industry associations, SMEs, Consultancies, other relevant stakeholders and Citizens (inside and outside of the European Union).

The European Commission has to establish in accordance with Article 6(1) of Regulation (EC) No. 714/2009 (“the Electricity Regulation”) and Article 6(1) of Regulation (EC) No. 715/2009 (“the Gas Regulation”) an annual priority list identifying the areas to be included in the development of network codes.

Europe’s cross-border electricity networks are operated according to rules that govern the actions of operators and determine how access is given to users. In the past, these grid operation and trading rules were drawn up nationally, or even sub-nationally. With increased interconnections between countries in the internal energy market, EU-wide rules have become increasingly necessary to effectively manage electricity flows. These rules, known as network codes or guidelines, are Commission Regulations containing legally binding rules. They govern all cross-border electricity market transactions and system operations alongside the EU regulation on conditions for accessing the network for cross-border electricity exchanges.

How network codes and guidelines are developed

 The European Commission begins by drafting an ‘annual priority list’ of areas to be included in the development of network codes for electricity. It does this on the basis of a public consultation and with the input of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

Once the annual priority list is established, ACER develops ‘framework guidelines’ which set principles for developing specific network codes. These framework guidelines are used by ENTSO-E to prepare a network code which is submitted back to ACER for its opinion.

If ACER deems that the code fulfils its framework guidelines and the EU’s internal market objectives, and is fair and balanced, it recommends that the Commission adopt the code.

The ultimate responsibility for the text and content of the network codes lies with the Commission. The Commission studies it and then sends it to an Electricity Cross-Border Committee, made up of specialists from national energy ministries, for an opinion. Once the Committee accepts the draft network code, it is adopted with the approval of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

Sometimes the regulations are adopted as ‘guidelines’ rather than ‘network codes.’ These are adopted under a different provision of the Electricity Regulation but they have the same status – they are both legally binding regulations.

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