|Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)|
|European Union Electricity Market Glossary|
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) is the European Union body created by the Third Energy Package to work towards the completion of a single EU energy market for electricity and natural gas (Internal Energy Market (IEM)).
The Agency was officially launched in March 2011 and is based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
As an independent European body the Agency ensures that market integration and the harmonisation of regulatory frameworks are achieved in accordance with the EU's energy policy objectives.
The overall mission of the Agency is also to complement the work of national energy regulators at EU level, to assist them in exercising, at the European Union level, the regulatory tasks that they perform in the Member States and, where necessary, to coordinate their action.
ACER's decision-making process
ACER itself sometimes indicates, the Agency's name "underlines its fundamental purpose of coordinating the actions of National Regulatory Authorities" (Joint ACER-CEER response to European Commission's Consultation on a new Energy Market Design of 7 October 2015, p. 23).
Also Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the internal market for electricity (recast) on common rules for the internal market in electricity (recast), 30.11.2016, COM(2016) 864 final 2016/0380 (COD) observes that with the increasing cross-border trade and system operation which takes the regional and European context into account, the EU National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) were required to increasingly coordinate their action with NRAs from other Member States.
The said document of 30.11.2016 underlines ACER was designed to become the platform for this interaction and fulfils this duty since its creation in 2011.
The body within the Agency where most opinions, recommendations and decisions of the Agency are prepared, together with ACER staff, is the Board of Regulators comprising senior representatives of the NRAs and a non-voting representative of the Commission.
Recital 26 to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (recast), 30.11.2016, COM(2016) 863 final 2016/0378 (COD) stipulates that "without prejudice to its members' acting on behalf of their respective national authorities", the Board of Regulators is required to act independently from any market interest, avoid conflicts of interests and not seek or follow instructions or accept recommendations from a government of a Member State, from Union institutions or another public or private entity or person.
ACER in its aforementioned document of 7.11.2015 refers to the fact that "[v]irtually all the legal acts of the Agency requiring a favourable opinion by the Board of Regulators have been agreed unanimously by NRAs' representatives in the Board."
According to Recitals 27 and 28 of the said Proposal of 30 November 2016 for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators where the ACER has decision-making powers, interested parties should, for reasons of procedural economy, be granted a right of appeal to a Board of Appeal, which should be part of the Agency, but independent from its administrative and regulatory structure.
The decisions of the Board of Appeal are subject to appeal before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The Agency should exercise its decision-making powers "in line with the principles of fair, transparent and reasonable decision-making".
The tasks, organisation and operation of the Agency are set out in Regulation (EC) No 713/2009 (the "Agency Regulation") as well as in the other legal acts forming the Third Energy Package.
Additional tasks were assigned to the Agency by:
The Agency plays a key role in promoting the integration and well-functioning of the EU markets in electricity and gas, as well as their transparency and integrity.
The Agency, in particular:
- complements and coordinates the work of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in areas laid down in the legislation;
- participates in the creation of European network rules, by producing Framework Guidelines containing criteria and principles for the Network Codes to be developed by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and ENTSO-G;
- monitors the execution of the tasks of ENTSOs and regional cooperation of TSOs, and provides opinions on their relevant documents (annual work programme, community-wide TYNDP, supply outlooks, etc.);
- participates in the process for the identification of infrastructure Projects of Common Interest, by providing opinion on several methodological and procedural aspects;
- takes, under certain conditions, binding individual decisions on terms and conditions for access and operational security for cross border infrastructure, on exemptions and on cross-border cost allocation;
- gives advice on various energy related issues to the European institutions;
- monitors and reports on developments in the energy markets, and
- monitors trading in wholesale energy markets in order to detect and deter insider trading and market manipulation (Draft Outline of the 2016 ACER's Work Programme).
The monitoring of wholesale energy markets by the Agency will be mainly based on the collection of data relating to the transactions executed and the orders placed on wholesale energy markets in the European Union (trading data), as well as on fundamental data, that is, data relating to the operational conditions of the energy systems in both the electricity and gas sectors.
However, while the Agency has been assigned extensive monitoring responsibilities, it does not have the corresponding powers to define and obtain the necessary information from National Regulatory Authorities, Transmission System Operators – and their European Networks - and other market stakeholders.
This may be perceived as an inconsistency (ACER/CEER Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets in 2014, November 2015, p. 6).
A specific example of ACER's competencies is the CACM Regulation, according to which a number of binding subsidiary instruments to be adopted at a later stage, is entrusted to the NRAs.
In the case of binding subsidiary instruments having a EU-wide scope of application, this requires NRAs to decide unanimously on the adoption of identical legal acts in all national legal systems within a six-month period, after which the responsibility is transferred to ACER.
Beyond that, ACER's advisory competences include:
- providing opinions on the compliance of NRAs' decisions with the relevant legislation at the request of an NRA or of the European Commission (Article 7(4) of Regulation (EC) No 713/2009);
As the aforementioned ACER-CEER document of 7 October 2015 suggests, this role of the Agency could be usefully enhanced by extending its opportunity to issue such opinions and recommendations not only at the request of the European Commission or of an NRA, but also on its own initiative (while NRAs would in this way lose the quasi-exclusivity of their role of initiative for these opinions and recommendations, they would still be involved in the process through their representation in the Board of Regulators, whose favourable opinion would be required for the adoption of these acts).
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (recast), 30.11.2016, COM(2016) 863 final 2016/0378 (COD)
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 January 2017 21:54|