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Following the publication of the Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/460 of 16 March 2017 establishing a Network Code on Harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas ('TAR NC'), the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (‘The Agency’) has developed a template for the periodic consultation of the reference price methodology (‘RPM’). In doing so, it fulfils the obligation laid out in Article 26(5) of the TAR NC according to which, the Agency shall develop a template for the consultation document referred to in Article 26(1) of the TAR NC. This template shall be made available to national regulatory authorities (‘NRAs’) and transmission system operators (‘TSOs’) before 5 July 2017.
The template is made available for the consultation(s) on the RPM based on Article 26(1) of the TAR NC. The NRA and TSO responsible for this consultation can structure this process as a single consultation or as multiple consultations followed by a final consultation. In either case, the final consultation shall comply with all the requirements set out in Article 26 and in Article 27. The final consultation shall compile the previous consultation document(s) and shall be forwarded to the Agency. The template has been designed for the purpose of the final consultation, which shall be forwarded to the Agency.
Independently of the use that the NRA/TSO makes of the template, the TSO/NRA running the consultation on the RPM should not deviate from the intent of Chapter VII of the Tariff NC and from the minimum consultation requirements provided in Article 26.
Article 27 defines the timeline to be followed for the consultation(s), the involvement of the Agency, and the NRA decision-making process. The deadline for the publication of tariffs according to the TAR NC is 31st May 2019.
The template is available to NRAs and TSOs on the Agency's website as an online platform. This tool is intended to facilitate complying with several obligations laid out in the TAR NC for NRAs, TSOs and for The Agency. In addition, it allows to further promote transparency by providing stakeholders with an instrument to compare consultations in a systematic manner across Member States. The main functionalities that the template online tool allows are:
The aim of this approach is to render the template an effective tool in the national consultation process and beyond it. The template is expected to simplify the implementation of the TAR NC by creating a communication channel between NRAs/TSOs and ACER to facilitate complying with several of the TAR NC obligations. This functionality will serve to make interactions between ACER and NRAs/TSOs more efficient and will facilitate ACER’s review of the national consultations.
As a result of this interactions, stakeholders will have access to homogenised summaries of the national consultations which will facilitate the comparability across Member States. An Open House to check stakeholders’ views on this point was conducted by ACER. This exercise has shown the interest of stakeholders’ for NRAs/TSOs to use and publish the template.
The template consists of two parts, a checklist provided as a PDF file, and an online tool which allows the NRA/TSO responsible for the consultation completing a summary of all obligations referred to in Article 26.
The template provides, in a structured manner, the full list of the requirements of Article 26, which are subject to the national consultation(s) on the RPM. When using the template, the NRA/TSO responsible for the consultation on the RPM, should provide the indicated information as defined in Article 26. These requests are based on three criteria:
The text included in the template different to the listed obligations of the TAR NC (descriptions, guidelines and requests for references) is intended to clarify the obligation of the TAR NC and is not meant to constitute any additional legal requirements.
In the cases where Article 26 requests elements to be consulted that are effectively not used for the calculation of the RPM, the template allows the NRA/TSO to use the field 'not applicable' while mentioning briefly the reason for the non-applicability of the field.
In addition to requesting information related to Article 26, the template allows the NRA/TSO responsible for the consultation to provide relevant details of the consultation process, such as the closing date of the consultation, the publication dates of the responses to the national consultation, and the contact details of those in the NRA/TSO responsible for running the consultation. The latter will serve for any communication needs arising from the process described in Article 27. Not all of this information will be published in ACER’s website nor as part of the downloadable PDF summary.
A colour code has been used for implementing both, the consultation checklist and the survey:
Regarding the numbering both, the checklist and the survey, use a coding which is not based on the TAR NC.
The template request references to the consultation document(s) per item of Article 26. These references should include:
National legislations allows users and TSOs to propose alternative options that will be subject to the national consultation. When foreseen, these alternatives are part of the final consultation and require a different structure from the one provided in this template. In such cases, the Agency asks the TSO/NRA to provide in the template the nature of the deviation and the additional references in the national consultation documentation where the alternative design options can be found. In cases where a full-fledged alternative is provided, the TSO/NRA should consider filling in the template in full.
Upon filling in the requested information laid out in the online template tool, the NRA/TSO can access a filled version of template in PDF format. This file contains a summary of the information submitted through the tool with the appropriate references to the national consultation document(s).
The PDF document can be included as an annex to the national consultation. Independently of the NRA/TSO decision to publish this document, the Agency will include the completed templates as part of its analysis and conclusions on the RPM consultations.
Based on Article 27(1) the final consultation on the RPM shall be forwarded to the Agency. The online template tool allows the NRA/TSO responsible for the consultation to send the consultation documents to the Agency via a secure submission procedure.
Once the Agency has received the consultation documentation, it shall analyse whether all the information referred to in Article 26(1) has been published in the consultation of the RPM by the NRA/TSO, in line with Article 27(2)(a). For the purpose of assessing the completeness of the consultation, the Agency will use the template, both as a summary and as a guide to reviewing the national consultation documentation. The references provided in the template are intended to facilitate reading across consultations.
Following this review on the completeness of the national consultations, the Agency will assess the consultations’ compliance along the criteria set out in Article 27(2)(b). For this purpose, the template provides guidance on how the Agency will evaluate the relevant points of Article 26. The template makes explicit all the requirements that the Agency expects to be fulfilled by the consultations. Alternative approaches are possible whenever the NRA/TSO responsible for the consultation considers so. In either case, the documentation received and the processes employed will be reviewed for compliance by the Agency against the requirements laid out in the TAR NC.
Within two months following the end of the consultation on the RPM, according to Article 27(3), the Agency shall publish the conclusion of its analysis.
The Agency requests the NRA/TSO responsible for launching the final consultation on the RPM to follow the below requirements when submitting the consultation documentation to the Agency:
Link to online survey: http://surveys.acer.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/ACER_Consultation_Template
Link to template checklist
Comments, questions and general feedback to be sent by 28 June (preferably by 26 June) to: email@example.com
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