What is it about?
Gas balancing rules (BAL NC) ensure that injections into and withdrawals from the transmission network are managed efficiently by network users. Network users cause imbalances by injecting less or more gas at entry points than what they withdraw at exit points. The accumulation of individual imbalances affects the system as a whole. The harmonised balancing rules make network users responsible for balancing their portfolios, for which they can use a set of standardised short term products – daily or within-day ones. The transmission system operator has a residual responsibility for physical balancing to keep the system within its safe operating limits.
Network users balance their portfolio via the market, where trading platforms and exchanges enable them to sell and buy-products during the Gas Day. The transmission system operator (TSO) acts on the same platform as the users and its costs for residual balancing interventions are recovered from the imbalanced network users. The TSOs cannot earn or lose revenue due to their balancing activity and shall report their activity transparently.
How has the Code been implemented?
The Code has been implemented along three distinct deadlines, which the legislation offered depending on the preparedness of the Member States.
Countries with more experience with short-term markets or balancing opted for full implementation by October 2015.
Those who opted for temporary measures, due to information model upgrades, had to finalise implementation by October 2016.
Countries opting for interim measures were supposed to finish implementation by April 2019.
The Agency's reports showed a high implementation rate in North-West Europe. The least advanced implementation occurred in South-East and East Europe.
The implementation relies on three enablers: information provision, network flexibility, and commercial flexibility. Only when these factors reach a sufficient degree of maturity, network users and transmission system operators are enabled to properly play their roles assigned by the Code. Trading platforms (or balancing platforms in case of interim measures) are important instruments providing opportunities to network users to trade short term standardised products.
What does ACER say?
ACER found the interim measures have not been terminated in time as required by the Code. The Agency recommends that Member States facing implementation delays close their implementation gaps and start an active communication towards the Agency and the European Commission. The Agency will recommend the start of infringement procedures with the European Commission for those Member States lagging significantly behind.