ACER: Council agrees position to update the role of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators

Source: Council of the European Union (Council) i, published on Monday, June 11 2018.

The Council today agreed its position (general approach) on a regulation to update the role of ACER, the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. The agreement provides the Presidency with a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament.

The objective of the regulation is to improve collaboration between national electricity and gas regulators by updating the tasks of the agency. ACER is already active in the field of wholesale market supervision and helps address cross-border issues.

The Council of the EU, part “Energy”, agreed on a text for a general approach on the proposal for a revision of the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. The proposal to revise the ACER regulation is the last legal act of Clean Energy for All Europeans Package, on which the Council has finally reached a general approach. ACER plays an important role in facilitating cooperation between national energy regulators. After intense negotiations, the agreement reached today is balanced, and offers us an excellent basis on which to begin talks with the European Parliament.

Temenuzhka Petkova, Minister of energy of Bulgaria

All member states have accepted the need for the existing legislative framework to be adapted in order to redefine the way the agency functions, its role and remit. This adaptation covers the tasks of its director and the board of regulators which consists of senior representatives of the member states' national regulatory authorities. The division of tasks between the board of regulators and ACER's director is redefined.

ACER has already improved coordination between regulators on cross-border issues. The agency was officially launched in March 2011 and has its seat in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since its creation, the agency has been given important new tasks related to the monitoring of wholesale markets and in the area of cross-border energy infrastructure. New regulatory tasks and competences shall only be granted to the agency if there is adequate involvement of the member states. This will be guaranteed through legislation adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure or through implementing acts.

Increased market integration and the change towards more variable electricity production means that further efforts are needed to coordinate national energy policies with neighboring countries and to make greater use of the opportunities offered by cross-border electricity trade. This will enable EU member states to prepare for unexpected energy supply crises and ensure the security of electricity supply. The close interconnection of the EU electricity grid means that cooperation is also needed to maintain grid stability and integrate large volumes of renewable energies.

Background and next steps

The Commission presented the original proposal on the recast ACER regulation on 30 November 2016 as part of the clean energy package. The current legislative framework is based on a regulation which dates back to 2009 and which established ACER.

This general approach enables the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament which adopted its position on the regulation on 1 March 2018. Negotiations are expected to start under the Austrian presidency.

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