EU makes slow progress towards connecting electricity markets

There are delays in connecting national markets due to weaknesses in governance and a complex system of regulatory instruments, the European Court of Auditors points out. Despite ambitious forecasts and efforts, the European Union (EU) is making slow progress towards its goal of connecting electricity markets to allow businesses and citizens to benefit from electricity at the best prices. This is stated in a report of the European Court of Auditors.

Delays have accumulated in connecting national electricity markets due to weaknesses in EU governance and a complex system of regulatory instruments to stimulate cross-border trade that limit the application of market rules.

Monitoring by the European Commission and the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) has also not brought sufficient benefits. Monitoring measures aimed at limiting abuse and manipulation have not been fully effective, meaning that the main burden of risk in the EU electricity market is borne by end users.

In 1996, the EU undertook the complex project of full integration of national electricity markets. The aim is to achieve the lowest possible electricity prices for consumers and to increase the security of energy supplies for the EU. However, almost ten years after the deadline for the completion of this project, planned for 2014, the market is still in practice governed by 27 national regulatory frameworks. As the current energy crisis deepens, wholesale prices vary widely across Member States and retail prices are still heavily influenced by national tax rates and network charges rather than being open to competition. 

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