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EU says several energy ministers back unbundling generation, transmission

A significant number of European Union energy ministers favor an energy package that would break up the bloc’s largest utilities by separating their energy transmission from their generation assets, the European Commission said Monday, citing the EU Presidency’s progress report.

Under the EU plan proposed by the commission, utilities that generate electricity or extract natural gas will have to sell their transmission networks or lease them to an independent operator. The progress report also said that some ministers remained to be convinced. The report also said that all 27 EU member states agreed rules on the separation of transmission and generation assets - also known as unbundling - should be similar to avoid distortions between member states in the internal market and that they have to be based on independently run „networks that guarantee independence of decisions on investment in infrastructure.”

The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, originally wanted to split up energy companies such as E.ON AG and Electricite de France SA, a move known as ownership unbundling. But resistance from several countries, particularly Germany and France, compelled the commission to allow another option, namely the creation of independent transmission system operators that would operate the electricity cables and gas pipelines on behalf of their owners. (marketwatch)