Energy

Access to infrastructure and exemptions

Access to infrastructure and exemptions

Electricity and gas transmission system operators (TSOs) as well as operators of storage or LNG facilities are required to grant energy companies non-discriminatory access to their infrastructure. They must offer the same service to different users under identical contractual conditions.

In certain circumstances however, major new infrastructure may be exempt from so-called third party access rules. For example, they may be exempt for particularly risky investments such as cross-border gas pipelines or LNG terminals which could not be implemented if the usual rules are applied.

These exemptions are linked to strict conditions for both electricity and gas investments. The European Commission is responsible for verifying that they are met. If they are not met, the Commission may ask the national authorities to amend or withdraw the exemptions.

Exemption criteria for gas

The following criteria apply for gas infrastructure exemptions:

  • the investment must improve security of supply and boost competition in the gas market
  • the investment could not go ahead without the exemption due to the level of risk
  • the infrastructure must be owned by a legally separate firm from the TSO in whose system it will operate
  • users of the infrastructure must pay for access
  • the exemption does not harm the functioning of the EU's internal gas market or the transmission system to which the infrastructure is linked.

Exemption criteria for electricity

The following criteria apply for electricity infrastructure exemptions:

  • the investment must enhance competition in the electricity supply
  • the investment could not be taken without the exemption due to the level of risk
  • the infrastructure must be owned by a legally separate firm from the TSO in whose system it will operate
  • users of the infrastructure must pay for access
  • investment for the project cannot be made from capital gained through income from transmission systems to which it will be linked
  • the exemption does not harm the functioning of the EU's internal gas market or the transmission system to which the infrastructure is linked.

Exemption decisions

Exemption decisions and pending notifications of national exemption decisions for gas and electricity

Last Updated: 18/12/2018