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Europe adopts power trading rules after blackout

EU regulators adopted cross-border electricity trading rules to prevent blackouts such as the one November 4 that affected 10 million customers across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The new rules „require improved cooperation between transmission system operators to allocate cross-border flows and manage bottlenecks in the transmission network,” the European Commission said yesterday in a statement on its Web site. „The blackout last Saturday demonstrated how important proper management of the European electricity transmission network is,” Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said in the statement.

Earlier this week, EU regulators pledged to spur cross-border investment in the €150 billion ($192 billion) electricity market in a fresh bid to prevent blackouts. The European Commission said it would encourage power-grid operators such as E.ON AG to build interconnectors, used to link electricity systems. Blackouts hit western Europe over the weekend after a German power-grid failure, leaving millions of homes without electricity, disrupting trains and risking outages to hospitals and airports. The commissioner will propose in January a set of measures to permit transmission system operators to work in a legally established group and adopt legally binding security and operational rules, the commission said in the statement.

Operators currently work on voluntary agreements with no enforcement system to monitor the application of their voluntary rules. The Group of European Energy Regulators, known as ERGEG, proposed congestion-management guidelines that divide Europe into as many as eight regions. „This regional approach is a pragmatic intermediate step towards a fully integrated internal electricity market,” the commission statement said. The guidelines adopted by the Commission amend existing guidelines on cross-border trade in electricity, the statement said. Amended guidelines enter into force 20 days after their publication in the official journal, it said. (Bloomberg)