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11.02.2007 » Pressrelease » General
European Energy Regulators’ hard hitting Final Report to the European Commission on the November 2006 Blackout criticises transmission system operators
The disturbance, which affected 15 million customers, might have been avoided if co-ordination among Transmission System Operators (TSOs) had been better

TSOs failed to take account of the lessons from the Swiss/Italian blackout (2003)
Regulators welcome the Commission’s proposals in its Strategic Energy Review to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for an integrated EU electricity grid
Legal obligations on TSOs collectively are needed to develop European operating and security standards for the EU grid. Separately legal obligations are needed on TSOs individually to comply with these EU standards.

The Final Report by the European Energy Regulators on the Blackout of November 2006 to the European Commission, published today, draws important lessons on the security and reliability of European electricity network operations and the need for more integrated and harmonised operational rules. The European Commission had invited ERGEG to investigate and report on the November 2006 blackout. The regulators’ Final Report, which follows their Interim Report of 20th December 2006, criticises the lack of appropriate co-ordination by grid operators and their failure to take account of the lessons from the Swiss/Italian blackout of 2003, which regulators had asked them to do.

ERGEG’s Assessment of the Blackout of the 4th November 2006
ERGEG’s Final Report identifies three main causes: (1) non-fulfilment of the (n-1) security rule, (2) inappropriate inter-TSO co-ordination during the event and (3) distributed generation units were not monitored or controlled appropriately by TSOs6. The uncoordinated behaviour worsened the effects.

Commenting on the recent report by the UCTE (the organisation representing TSOs) which claims TSOs demonstrated their efficiency in dealing with the incident, ERGEG Chair, Sir John Mogg, states “The UCTE report confirms the causes, yet it characterises the TSO’s reactions to the blackouts as a success in terms of avoiding a further deterioration. The facts are otherwise, I fear. This disruption affected 15 million customers in Europe. It was an event triggered neither by technical failure nor by external events (such as extreme weather conditions). The Commission should consider urgently measures that will make a repeat of such disturbances in the future highly unlikely.”

ERGEG’s Recommendations7 fall under two broad headings:
(1)We need a much improved legal and regulatory framework to minimize the risk of similar interruptions
(2)Measures by TSOs themselves to secure effective coordination and cooperation among each other, and placed under appropriate regulatory oversight to safeguard the public interest, are required.

ERGEG welcomes the proposals in the Commission’s Strategic Energy Review (10th January) which fully reflect the advice given by ERGEG to Energy Commissioner Piebalgs in December 2006.

ERGEG has provided the European Commission with detailed advice on the essential elements of a comprehensive regulatory framework for a single EU energy market. Sir John Mogg commented that “The arrangements for an effective EU framework must be based on high level public interest objectives for the secure and efficient operation of an integrated EU grid. There must be obligations on TSOs both collectively (to develop rules for an EU grid) and individually (to comply with these standards). There must also be strong and independent national regulators with harmonised powers and a European regulatory body to oversee the work of European network bodies in gas and electricity; and effective unbundling of TSOs in order to ensure that they act in the public interest, preferably through ownership unbundling”. We look to the Council and the Parliament to act with urgency in considering the European Commission’s proposals.


Una Shortall
Phone: + 32 2 788 73 30

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