Extracts from the debate on the energy market, EP plenary session

Type: Report   Reference: I-057949   Duration: 10:34:39  Lieu:
End production: 17/06/2008   First transmission: 17/06/2008
The Members of the EP debated in plenary session, on 17 June 2008, several proposals on the energy market with particular focus on the electricity market. This set of measures endorses the following three reports: on the energy Agency drafted by Giles Chichester, Member of the EP; on an "internal market in electricity", presented by Mair Eluned Morgan, Member of the EP, and "conditions for access to the network for cross border exchanges in electricity" by Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice-President of the EP. In a vote on 28 May, Members of the EP on the Industry Research and Energy Committee backed a report drafted by Giles Chichester calling for an "Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators". The report insists that the Agency, proposed as part of the energy package, should have regulatory powers, contrary to the Commission's original plan which favoured more of a coordination role. The Commission, in its original proposals, proposed creating two bodies to bring together the various entities running power distribution networks: the European Network of Transmission System Operators for electricity (ENTSOE) and gas (ENTSOG). The Industry Committee backed rapporteur Mair Eluned Morgan's preference for full ownership unbundling, which is also the European Commission's preferred option. This would involve forbidding companies or countries from simultaneously exercising control over electricity generation or supply and "directly or indirectly exercising control over a transmission system operator" and vice versa. At the heart of the third energy package are plans to separate the operation of gas pipelines and electricity networks ("unbundling") from production. In practice it would mean that companies cannot generate power and own the grid. This division of production and supply is intended to allow more competition into the energy market and encourage investment in outdated infrastructure. The hope is that it will also increase investment in renewable energy.

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10:30:17 Title 00:00:04
10:30:22 Exterior view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg (2 shots) 00:00:05
10:30:27 Janez Lenarčič, Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs and President in office of the Council, (in SLOVENIAN) saying that the option of an independent transmission network operator can be elected by those Member States where the grid at the moment of the entry into force of the Directive will be part of a vertically integrated operation; saying that this guarantees the independence and the governance and the control body and it avoids conflicts of interests too; proper and indiscriminate access to the network also guarantees proper promotion of the investments also for international networks (2 shots) 00:00:40
10:31:07 Andris Piebalgs, Member of the EC in charge of Energy, (in ENGLISH) saying that the most important issue is the ability to make legally binding on all network operators the technical codes adopted under the over side of the Agency; for this purpose the Commission needs to be able to adopt them in a fast and effective manner through the comitology procedure; saying that it is not possible to go beyond the EC Treaty; a number of amendments proposed by the Committee regarding the decision-making powers of the Agency are not compatible with the principle established by the "Meroni judgement"; this concerns in particular the degree of discretionary power conferred to the Agency (2 shots) 00:00:46
10:31:53 Mair Eluned Morgan, Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH) saying that they have respected subsidiarity in their request that Member States should come up with their own definition of energy poverty and an action plan for dealing with the problem; so if the Council wants a deal on this package they need to understand that this is a central requirement of the Parliament; saying that they would like to see much better cooperation between national regulatory authorities and competition authorities; in this way they might get to a point where they don't have almost half of the countries of the EU where one company dominates over 70% of the market; saying that total separation of energy supply from transmission companies or full ownership unbundling as was suggested initially by the Commission should be the only option for electricity companies; it is only in this way you remove the conflict of interest; saying that Germany, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Greece and Bulgaria are resisting this; they think that strengthening these Chinese walls will be enough and some suspect also that it is an effort to protect national champions, who are happy to invest in other markets but reluctant to allow others into their markets (4 shots) 00:01:11
10:33:04 Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice-President of the EP, (in SPANISH) saying that the system of ownership is not a panacea but it is a condition, a set of conditions that they need to have an integrated internal market; saying that they should not allow themselves to be divided into the tough ones and the soft ones; they need to take a sensible balanced approach and to take a European approach in the best sense of the word; (2 shots) 00:00:29
10:33:33 Giles Chichester, Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH) saying that they proposed new decision making powers for the Agency, in particular over the development of the technical codes and the investment plans of the TSOs and a greater regulatory and financial independence; but with that greater power and independence should come greater accountability to Parliament in particular, but to stakeholders as well; saying that the independence of the Agency is critical not only for its effectiveness but also for its credibility and therefore they propose a stronger role for the board of regulators, a time limit to ensure speedy decision making and increased financial independence for the Agency (2 shots) 00:00:42
10:34:15 Mia de Vits, Member of the EP, (in DUTCH) saying that it is absolutely essential that the consumers should be aware of their energy rights; that is not the case today, far from it; today consumers lack understandable, precise information concerning their rights; there is a need of a clear document which lists these rights, a Charter in other words 00:00:24
10:34:39 Cutaways (2 shots) 00:00:06
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