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NATURAL GAS : REGULATORS WANT BINDING LEGISLATION ON STORAGE.

The European Regulators' Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) believes that binding legislation is needed to ensure non-discriminatory access to gas storage. "More than one year after their introduction, compliance with the Gas Storage Guidelines remains weak," they explain, arguing that without proper access to storage facilities, new market entrants cannot compete. Such recommendations stem from their just-issued 2006 report on monitoring the implementation of the Gas Storage Guidelines' (GGPSSO). "Despite receiving the endorsement of Storage System Operators," compliance with the storage guidelines remains unsatisfactory in key areas which are essential for non-discriminatory access: transparency; equal treatment of storage users (confidentiality); and congestion management. "Although certain system operators are better at complying than others, most continue to be non-compliant in at least some areas," explains ERGEG, non-compliance not being limited to the small storage operators.

The Association of European Gas Storage Operators (GSE) notes that on several occasions, compliance is monitored by ERGEG against requirements that are not included in the GGPSSO. For example, ERGEG points that only nine storage operators are legally unbundled. Yet, legal unbundling is not requested by the GGPSSO. Regulators doubt about non-discrimination whereas competition law demands confidentiality and non-discrimination.

The majority of GSE members have implemented transparent and non-discriminatory procedures for allocating capacity. GSE believes that implementation "requires focus and perseverance, regardless whether it concerns a regulation, a business strategy or a voluntary guideline".

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Dec 13, 2006
Words:229
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