- South-East Europe Regional Energy Market
The South-East Europe Regional Energy Market (SEEREM) became part of the EU’s wider internal energy market on
25 October 2005by the creation of the common European Energy Communityin the framework of Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.
Athens Memorandumwas envisioned a South-East Europe Regional Energy Market (SEEREM) that will be liberalized in a phased manner from 2005, and—ultimately—that this will form part of the EU’s internal energy market. The Memorandum was signed on November 2002 by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey. The states agreed to develop a regional energy market in power and gas from 2005.
Regarding inter-regional trade, the Memorandum states that the energy market in SEE will be integrated into the
European Union’s internal energy market. The 2003 revision of the Athens Memorandumalso includes provisions relating to gas market development, and proposes the establishment of a SEEREM. Requirements for the gas sector largely mirror those for the power sector and include: setting up of an independent gas regulator; unbundling of different gas industry functions with legal separation of transmission and distribution from other industry functions; open access to networks and storage facilities; to open the gas market in a phased manner from 2005, defining eligible customers at that time to include power generators, and such that 20% of the market is liberalized. separate ownership of transmission, distribution. For countries in SEE where gas penetration is currently less than 10%, a gas expansion plan to raise use of gas above this threshold before 2010 must be adopted andimplemented.
The subject of the article is the extent to which
Romania, as the biggest country in South-East Europe and traditionally a net energy exporter to the region, complies with requirements under the AthensMemorandum, and outstanding challenges related to successful SEEREMaccession.
Regional energy market development poses three key sets of challenges for Romania: (i) the need to move to energy industry economic and financial viability without Government support; (ii) the need for institutional reform through industry commercialization/restructuring and regulatory development (iii) the need to mobilize finance for investments.
Memorandum provides a benchmark for the energy sector reform process in
Romania. This benchmark is highly relevant in the Romanian context given the country’s aspirations towards EUaccession and to become a major player in the SEEREM.
Athens Memorandum, participating countries have committed to undertake the following steps:
* Energy strategy to be adopted.Effective tariffs and affordability
* Power tariffs and payments discipline to be such thateffective tariffs cover costs.
* Social safety net for the power sector to be in place.Regulation
* Independent regulator to be set up.
* Gridcodes to be adopted and implemented.
* Transmission tariff methodologies to be adopted.
:Industry commercialization and restructuring
* Increased utility transparency to be achieved through application of International Accounting Standards (IAS) and best practice on corruption abatement as advised by a reputable international body to be adopted.
* Transmission system operator to be set up. This entity should be independent at least in terms of its legal form, organization and decision making from other activities not relating to transmission.
* Distribution system operator(s) to be set up. This entity should be independent at least in terms of its legal form, organization and decision making from other activities not relating to distribution.
* Information exchange between national dispatch centers to commence, moving to tele-informationexchange amongst dispatch centers.
* Commercial codes to be developed.
* Open network access and liberalization of the market for non-household consumers to take place in a phased manner from 2005.
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