Draft Amendment of Gas Grid Access Ordinance Criticized by Trade Associations

An amendment o f the Gas Grid Access Ordinance is likely to be part of the energy concept which the CDU/CSU and FDP coalition wants to present in autumn. At a hearing at the Ministry of Economics and Technology, trade associations said the draft amendment needed to be amended itself. 

The trade associations criticize that industrial consumers would systematically be discriminated against and kept off the wholesale market. In particular, they are unhappy that the partitioning of the market in six market areas, which they deem anticompetitive and driving up prices, shall only be abolished in October 2013. There are currently six market areas which coincide with the grids of the big gas producers and suppliers. In order to enhance cooperation, they shall be obliged to halve the number of market areas half a year after the amendment of the Gas Grid Access Ordinance comes into force. In 2013 only one market for gas with a high (H) calorific value and with a low (L) calorific value shall exist.

The draft amendment, however, contains a caveat, according to which the above timetable does not apply “if this (the merger of market areas) is technically impossible or economically not viable”. If this caveat remains part of the amended Gas Grid Access Ordinance, trade associations fear that even the first step of merging market areas will not take place. They point to the fact, that RWE AG and E.ON AG announced in July 2008 to merge their market areas, but so far failed to do so, despite proceedings initiated by the regulator, the Federal Network Agency.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 22 March 2010, page 13; Handelsblatt

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