2019 PRESS RELEASES
With smart meters being rolled out in Europe, valuable data is generated that can benefit all energy market participants: consumers, network operators, DSOs, TSOs, suppliers and new energy service providers. For this to happen, the data needs to be accessed in an efficient, non-discriminatory way and free of charge for all authorized energy market participants.
EER and ESMIG organized a workshop on access to energy data to discuss where we are in terms of regulation, what are the current market barriers that new energy service providers are facing, what are some best practices from European countries and what are some potential solutions to overcome these barriers.
Anna Colucci, Head of Unit Retail Markets, DG ENER, European Commission, highlighted the Clean Energy Package measures that address this issue: clear provision on ensuring easy and non-discriminatory access to data and interoperability of the data and the processes that go with this data. Cristina Martinez, Deputy Head of Unit Smart Living and Mobility, DG Connect, spoke about the Free Flow of Data Package entering into force in May that aims to enable new services based on data. What is missing is cross-border standards and aligned data formats to ensure interoperability.
On current barriers faced by different countries, we heard about missing legal frameworks resulting in retailers receiving the data with delays up to a week; data collection lagging behind the full meter potential; technical barriers in the form of over-engineered infrastructures causing delays and high costs to the implementation process; information barriers resulting in consumers not understanding the reason behind the installation of the smart meters and the need for a third party to use the data generated by them.
“We are building smart meters that can generate granular data for consumers to modulate their energy behavior, for network operators, DSOs and TSOs to plan and manage the grid, for suppliers to issue accurate bills and for new service providers to innovate and provide services based on real-time data. If they are only used for the billing, their costs are not worth it!”; says John Harris, ESMIG President.
There are also countries where the situation is looking brighter and the best practices mentioned include: the roll-out being retail-led, putting the consumers at the center and designing the roll-out with their benefits in mind, having a central and neutral energy data hub to distribute the data from the meter, having a neutral body in charge of communication and information campaigns to consumers, making it mandatory for suppliers to offer In-Home Displays with the smart meter, so consumers can better monitor their consumption.
Based on the presentations and discussions during the workshop, several recommendations for secondary legislation were put forward:
- Cooperation between market parties is key in achieving an efficient, non-discriminatory and free of charge access to data.
- Smart meters are not smart if they are not allowed to generate data, therefore information campaigns to consumers are essential for them to understand the benefits and implications of allowing the meter to generate data and sharing that data with new energy service providers.
- The data characteristics (granularity, type of data, response times, etc.) and recommended data format for accessing historic consumption data should be defined on a European level.
- A standard data format for the real-time data should be provided by the local interface on the meter and the implementation of this interface by the member states should be monitored.
“Retailers need access to high-quality, timely and granular data to offer consumers targeted services that would help them better understand, manage and optimize their energy consumption. There are still legal, technical and information barriers to achieving this and we hope the Clean Energy Package and subsequent Implementing Acts will help eliminate them“, concludes Michele Governatori, EER President.
2018 PRESS RELEASES
Gathered in Madrid on February 14th, the members of the Board of European Energy Retailers (EER) have signed the statutes of the first European network of non-incumbent national associations of energy and services providers, namely ACIE from Spain, AFIEG from France, AIGET from Italy, BNE from Germany and Oberoende Elhandlare from Sweden.
EER already had met some EU institutions during 2017 and now has finalized its formal constitution acts. “Our aim is acting as a common voice from many market oriented energy players in our countries. We decided to join experiences in different EU countries in order to provide the EU and Member States’ institutions with more information and suggestions on how to promote competitive markets and technologic development in our industry” Michele Governatori, appointed president of EER for 2018 and 2019, has stated. EER members in Madrid also began working on the agenda for 2018 and 2019, based on a list of key principles published on its website Europeanenergyretailers.eu. Effective unbundling, real liberalization of all activities which don’t need to be regulated monopolies and efficient markets are part of this agenda, which will be carried out under the coordination of Bianca Barth, appointed General Secretary of EER.
The first institutional meeting of EER after foundation was with the Spanish Secretary of State for Energy, Mr. Daniel Navia. During the meeting EER’s delegates were able to speak with Mr. Navia about their views on different topics that are now being discussed at the Spanish and European level such as regulated prices, last resort suppliers, energy price comparison tools, the development of charging infrastructure for electrical vehicles, energy storage facilities, the role of DSOs, the possibility of establishing an independent metering operator and energy poverty.
2017 PRESS RELEASES
The role of independent energy retailers and service providers in the energy market were at the center of a high-level conference on Tuesday at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was organized by European Energy Retailers (EER) and the Institute for Competitiveness, I-Com. Speakers came from the European Parliament, the Commission and other agencies and associations from EU member states.
With the conference, EER took a strong stand in the current discussions of the future energy policy of the European Union. Formed in June 2017, EER is the first network that represents the interests of independent energy retailers on a European level. It aims at enhancing cross-border competition in energy markets and achieving fair market conditions for new entrants offering energy and service-related solutions. The network calls for effective unbundling and harmonization of market rules. Competition and transparency must be key-principles of any future market design.
“With the ongoing discussion on the energy package, we see a perfect opportunity to address our issues. We have seen growing representation of the needs of new and grid-independent suppliers and service companies on the respective national level. Now it is time to establish a joint representation and coordination on the EU-level. We need to enhance cross-border competition in energy markets and improve market conditions for non-integrated companies. 20 years after liberalization, the energy market situation in individual EU Member States is still quite diverse and different, but we also see some common critical points, like lack of unbundling between grid and market services and overregulation of retail prices. As a growing network we will actively and jointly raise our voice to foster competitive solutions”, says Michele Governatori, designated President of EER. The network was founded by the Italian Association of Energy Traders & Suppliers (AIGET), the German Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne), the Spanish Association of Independent Retailers (ACIE) and the Independent Electricity Retailers in Sweden (Oberoende Elhandlare).
With AFIEG the French independent association for electricity and gas, a new and strong member joined EER. “Despite the progress that has been achieved in the past few years since the opening of the energy and gas markets, there is still a long way to go to an effective level-playing field in competition which will benefit the consumer”, says Marc Boudier, President of AFIEG. “Moreover, in the context of energy transition, it is essential to have a European view and capacity of action on energy issues. As the representative of the main alternative players on the French electricity and gas market in volumes and revenues, we believe that it is important that our voice is also heard at the European level. This is why we have made the choice of joining EER.”
Energy associations in four EU Member States have formed a new network aiming at enhancing cross-border competition in energy markets and achieving fair market conditions for new entrants offering energy and service-related solutions: European Energy Retailers (EER). In its founding declaration the network calls for effective unbundling and harmonization of market rules.
Transitioning to a cleaner and more decentralized energy system is not only contributing to the EU’s climate goals, but also creates new opportunities for innovative business models in EU Member States, thereby supporting further economic growth in the EU. “Especially new and grid-independent suppliers often still have to overcome substantial barriers, while at the same time cross-border competition is proceeding rather slowly,” said Massimo Bello, President of the Italian Association of Energy Traders & Suppliers (AIGET). Hence, EER is aiming at establishing a common voice for independent energy and solution providers’ interests in Brussels.
According to EER members, a major obstacle to an effective level-playing field in competition consists in insufficient separation between competitive and regulated business areas in the energy market. Incumbent energy companies can still prevent competition and monopolize strategically important business areas. Robert Busch, CEO of the German Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne) stated: “We need a clear separation of regulated and competitive business activities. Using the energy infrastructure as well as access to data and market information has to be based on comprehensible and transparent procedures and conditions.”
Energy markets in the EU are changing. Security of supply no longer exclusively is provided by central power stations, but also needs to be provided by storage, demand response and prosumers. However, in order to enable those sources and new actors to participate in the markets on equal footing, the framework conditions need to be changed. EER members strongly advocate for implementing discrimination-free access for all technologies and market players to the balancing markets.
20 years after liberalization, the energy market situation in individual EU Member States is still quite diverse and different: while supplier switching procedures in Germany work rather smoothly, those procedures are still a hurdle for new entrants in Spain. In addition, some EU Member States still have regulated energy retail prices.
Jointly the EER founders are advocating for an effective level-playing field in competition in order to guarantee a well-functioning energy market and benefit the customer – also on cross-border basis. “Although it is possible in many business areas to offer cross-border services in the EU, this is not really the case yet in the energy sector,” said Alejandro García, Secretary General of the Spanish Association of Independent Retailers (ACIE). EER is advocating for of a common European retailer “passport”: if a retailer is registered and authorized in one Member State, he should be able to provide energy and services to customers in all European Member States. Customers may benefit from greater choice and decreasing prices due to stronger competition.
Over the next couple of months EER aims to participate actively in the debate around the proposed clean energy package and offer its experience to decision-makers. Many of the legislative proposals provided by the European Commission are already steps in the right direction. Johan Öhnell, President of the Swedish Independent Electricity Retailers said: “With our work we aim to create more active customers, foster effective competition and support the goal of achieving a truly integrated Energy Union.”