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HomeElectricityMost countries decreased or maintained system sustainability, new energy security report finds

Most countries decreased or maintained system sustainability, new energy security report finds

The Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) and the Energy Community Regulatory Board (ECRB) published the 7th Benchmarking Report on the Quality of Electricity and Gas Supply, identifying “good regulatory practices on the quality of supply in electricity and gas grids that help to safeguard European consumers from energy cuts”.

The report compiles data from energy regulatory authorities of 39 countries, including those from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The report provides findings and associated recommendations with the aim of maintaining “a good quality of all dimensions of electricity and gas supply for customers across Europe”. Energy stakeholders draw on the data – provided by CEER Members and Observers and the Energy Community Contracting Parties – to forecast long-term trends in Europe and plan investments, while universities and think tanks use it for their research.

One of the main findings revealed that “most countries decreased or at least maintained their system sustainability and the number of interruptions per customer from the beginning to the end of the observed period for electricity”. The assessment also shows that interruptions in gas supply, while much less common than those in electricity, can lead to a higher risk of safety, resulting in greater efforts by regulators to avoid them. 

“European energy regulators are committed to promoting well-functioning and competitive energy markets in Europe in order to ensure that consumers receive fair prices, a wide choice of suppliers and the best quality of supply, including as much protection from cut-offs as possible,” said CEER President, Annegret Groebel. “This work is therefore of particular importance in a context of exceptionally high prices and challenging times for European energy markets.”

“Safeguarding stable and undisrupted electricity and gas supply for energy customers is a central focus of regulatory activities,” underlined ECRB President, Marko Bislimoski. “The 7th Benchmarking Report on the Quality of Electricity and Gas Supply provides a well-elaborated picture of the status quo that will allow us to further progress.”

Three major aspects of the quality of supply are addressed in the report. For electricity, they are availability and technical characteristics of grids (continuity of supply), technical properties of supplied electricity (voltage quality), and the speed and accuracy with which customer requests are handled (commercial quality). For gas, these are its availability and technical characteristics of the grid (technical operational quality), its chemical composition (natural gas quality) and the speed and accuracy of handling customer requests (commercial quality).

The report also provided an overview of specific areas within the electricity and gas regulatory frameworks across the 39 countries, including monetary penalties and sanctions when the legislation, the regulations or the standards on voltage quality are not met. For example in Moldova, Romania and Slovenia, compensation is provided for any disturbance in voltage quality. Whilst in Hungary, automatic compensation is paid to the customer if the guaranteed standard for supply voltage is not met. If the standard for the number of short interruptions is exceeded, compensation is paid at the request of the customer.

CEER has routinely surveyed and analysed the quality of electricity (since 2001) and gas supply (since 2016) in Europe and has produced six full Benchmarking Reports as well as regular updates. This 7th edition has complete data from both CEER and ECRB participants raising the total number of fully participating countries and enabling easier benchmarking for most of Europe. While the report draws from the latest available information provided by energy regulators, the data for continuity of supply covers the period from 2010 to 2018.

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