It is acknowledged by regulators on multiple occasions that transparency of information is crucial in the creation of well-functioning, competitive and efficient wholesale energy markets. It is, equally, underlined transparency facilitates price formation by enabling users to compare trading opportunities and results across trading venues, and thus allowing them to make rational trading decisions about when and where to trade (see for example ACER's annual report on its activities under REMIT in 2014, p. 50). Legal and organisational vehicle serving the above purposes in the European wholesale energy market are, among others, transparency platforms.
Sources of law for transparency platforms in the the European Union Internal Energy Market
Institutional framwework governing the activities of transparency platforms in the European Union Internal Energy Market is mainly based on:
1) the Third Energy Package, which introduced transparency rules through the Regulations No 714/2009 and 715/2009 as well as applicable guidelines and network codes on the management and allocation of available transfer capacity of interconnections between national systems,
3) REMIT Regulation and Commission Implementing Regulation No 1348/2014 of 17 December 2014on data reporting implementing Article 8(2) and Article 8(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency, OJ L 363, 18.12.2014, p. 121 (REMIT Implementing Regulation).
The first of the above legislative pieces sets out requirements for Transmission System Operators (TSOs) to publish data on the availability of networks, capacities of cross-border interconnectors and generation, load and network outages. The main novelty introduced by the Regulation No 543/2013 is, in turn, the establishment of a Central Information Transparency Platform operated by ENTSO-E. The aim of REMIT is to promote confidence in wholesale electricity and gas markets, so that they are working properly and for the benefit of energy consumers. In particular, Article 4 of REMIT aims to increase transparency in wholesale energy markets by setting out an obligation for market participants to publish inside information in an effective and timely manner.
Transparency platforms are significant in the context of REMIT Regulation since REMIT recognises that publication of inside information in accordance with Third Energy Package and Regulation 543/2013 or guidelines adopted pursuant to it, constitutes simultaneous, complete and effective public disclosure, but not necessarily timely public disclosure. Hence, the concepts of the transparency of information under the Third Energy Package and Regulation 543/2013 on the one hand, and inside information under REMIT on the other, although different, are interlinked. The former are designed to ensure the information reported covers a wide area ranging from unavailabilities, demand information, actual and forecast generation, as well as flows in and out of the system. The latter, in turn, can be a sub-set thereof: usually relate to unavailabilities of storage, consumption, transmission, generation or production units, but in every case must represent an information that, most likely, a reasonable market participant would use as part of the basis for its decisions, if it would be likely that this information would have a significant effect on the prices of wholesale energy products.
Inside information under REMIT may also form a broader category than the transparency information under the Third Energy Package and Regulation 543/2013 - an example is the Third Energy Package and Regulation 543/2013 require the reporting of unavailabilities of 100 MW or more, while changes of any size in the capacity or output may constitute inside information if they meet the criteria outlined in REMIT.
On account of the above interdependencies - as ACER's annual report on its activities under REMIT in 2014 observes - some platforms for the disclosure of inside information have taken on the task of reporting, under an agreement with the market participant and the responsible TSO, unavailabilities according to the The Third Energy Package and Regulation 543/2013 to the ENTSO-E platform, in addition to publishing Urgent Market Messages (UMMs) for REMIT purposes.
When it comes to technicalities, inside information under REMIT is typically disseminated in the form of UMMs, and according to Article 10(1) of the REMIT Implementing Regulation, market participants disclosing inside information on their websites, or service providers disclosing such information on market participants' behalf, must provide web feeds to ACER to enable ACER to collect such data efficiently.
It is acknowledged by ACER that the disclosure of inside information by means of transparency platforms, for instance operated by a TSO or energy exchange, is the most effective way, as it makes it easier for all stakeholders to access this information (in Member States where such platforms do not exist, market participants normally publish their inside information on their company websites, and this dual approach, for an interim period, is accepted by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) a with regard to REMIT disclosure mechanisms).
ENTSO-E Central Information Transparency Platform
The ENTSO-E Central Information Transparency Platformwas put into operation on 5 January 2015. The platform collects TSO's fundamental data related to generation, load, transmission and electricity balancing. It is compulsory for TSOs to submit data to ENTSO-E. A significant step in the development of the ENTSO-E Platform is the compliance with REMIT in autumn 2015, especially after the adoption of the REMIT Implementing Regulation. To fulfil obligation arising from the REMIT Implementing Regulation, ENTSO-E Transparency Platform submits data to ACER's market monitoring system on a daily basis.
For 2016, there is a clear indication to expand the ENTSO-E Transparency Platform from a "compliance tool" to a "market-oriented service" (ENTSO-E draft Work Programme 2015 through December 2016). To this end, an improved governance structure is planned to be introduced.
Transparency platforms' responsibility
ENTSO-E reserves that ENTSO-E platform does not perform any control on the accurateness, the up-to-date character or the consistency of the transparency platform data. The straightforward consequence of the aforementioned fact is the ENTSO-E platform data user is able to extract and to use the transparency platform data under its own responsibility only. In this context the general issue of transparency platforms' responsibility arises. ACER referred thereto in interpretations of 31 August 2015 and 16 February 2016 (both are, in principle, mutually consistent). The regulator's stance is that market participants are liable for the completeness and correctness of the content of the urgent market messages published on their own company website and/or on platforms for the disclosure of inside information. Platforms for the disclosure of inside information are normally not liable for the completeness and correctness of the content of the urgent market message that they receive and disclose on behalf of the market participant. However, platforms for the disclosure of inside information should accept responsibility for any data error that has taken place after the market participant submitted the urgent market message to the platform. Market participants should nevertheless take reasonable steps to verify the completeness, accuracy and timeliness of the disclosure of inside information on platforms on their behalf.
ACER's Q&As on REMIT
Question III.7.4 [last update 31 August 2015]
We would like to raise your attention to the use of disclaimers on transparency platforms and company websites, which are used to disclose inside information in accordance with Article 4(1) of REMIT. Could transparency platforms/company websites disclaim their liability for any damage of third parties which is caused by incorrect or incomplete information published by the transparency platforms/company websites?
Market participants are liable for the completeness and correctness of the content of the urgent market messages published on their own company website and/or on platforms for the disclosure of inside information.
Platforms for the disclosure of inside information are normally not liable for the completeness and correctness of the content of the urgent market message that they receive and disclose on behalf of the market participant.
However, platforms for the disclosure of inside information should accept responsibility for any data error that has taken place after the market participant submitted the urgent market message to the platforms.
ACER's Q&As on REMIT [last update 16 February 2016]
Certain transparency platforms which are used to disclose inside information pursuant to Article 4(1) of REMIT use disclaimers which exclude any liability of the transparency platform for incorrect or incomplete information. Is the use of such disclaimers in line with obligations deriving from REMIT?
Market participants are liable for the completeness and correctness of the content of the urgent market messages published on their own company website and/or on platforms for the disclosure of inside information. Platforms for the disclosure of inside information are normally not liable for the completeness and correctness of the content of the urgent market message that they receive and disclose on behalf of the market participant.
However, platforms for the disclosure of inside information should accept responsibility for any data error that has taken place after the market participant submitted the urgent market message to the platform. Market participants should nevertheless take reasonable steps to verify the completeness, accuracy and timeliness of the disclosure of inside information on platforms on their behalf.
ACER's Q&As on REMIT [last update 16 February 2016]
If a third party is delegated, through a data reporting agreement, to disclose inside information on behalf of another market participant, who is responsible for breaches of this obligation to disclose inside information?
Pursuant to Article 4(1) of REMIT, market participants are responsible for the disclosure of inside information which they possess in respect of business or facilities which the market participant concerned, or its parent undertaking or related undertaking, owns or controls or for whose operational matters that market participant or undertaking is responsible, either in whole or in part.
A market participant shall not be responsible for failures in the effective and timely disclosure of inside information that are attributable to the third party service provider acting on behalf of the market participant if the market participant has taken reasonable steps to verify that the third party service provider is capable of disclosing inside information on the market participant's behalf in an effective and timely manner.
ACER's Q&As on REMIT [last update 16 February 2016]
Pursuant to Article 4(4) of REMIT, the publication of inside information on the ENTSO-E transparency platform may be fully in line with REMIT (if the timeliness of the publication is respected). However, Article 10(2) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1348/2014 stipulates that the ACER code of the market participant is mandatory. As for now, the ENTSO-E transparency platform does not have a visible field related to the identity of the market participant. Is publication of inside information on the ENTSO-E transparency platform in line with the requirements of REMIT and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1348/2014?
The application of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency ("REMIT") is specified in more detail in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1348/2014 and in the ACER Guidance on the application of REMIT (''ACER Guidance'') (please see:
Concerning the publication of inside information, Chapter 7.2.2 of the ACER Guidance defines a minimum set of information required for publication, regardless of whether the information is published on a transparency platform or on the market participant's website. Under Article 10(1) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1348/2014, market participants disclosing inside information on their websites, or service providers disclosing such information on market participants' behalf, shall provide web feeds to enable the Agency to collect these data efficiently.
Moreover, in line with Article 10(2) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1348/2014, when reporting inside information, the market participant shall identify itself or shall be identified by the third party reporting on its behalf using the ACER registration code, which the market participant received, or the unique market participant code that the market participant provided while registering in accordance with Article 9 of REMIT.
Finally, please note that the Agency organised a public consultation procedure on the 'Common Schema for the Disclosure of Inside Information'. The consultation procedure is now closed and the results have been published on the ACER website:
The Agency will start systematically collecting inside information through web feeds on the basis of the standards and electronic formats described in this Manual as of 1 January 2017 and would expect market participants disclosing inside information and service providers disclosing such information on market participants' behalf to report the information through web feeds in the standards and electronic formats described in the Manual of Procedures on data reporting by 1 January 2017.
ENTSO-G union-wide transparency platform
Transparency rules of the Third Energy Package cover also the European gas market. Regulation (EC) No 715/2009 and its amendments require the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) to provide a union-wide platform where all TSOs for gas shall make their relevant data publicly available. ENTSOG provides the tool for the disclosure of inside information on its transparency platform. UMMs are displayed via a calendar view. The service is currently used by TSOs on a voluntary basis (ACER's annual report on its activities under REMIT in 2014, p. 55).
Transparency platforms run by oganised market places
Organised market places are also establishing transparency platforms in order to enable market participants to fulfil the obligation to publish inside information as required by Article 4 of REMIT.
The aforementioned ACER's annual report on its activities under REMIT in 2014 (p. 52 and 55) describes the activities of eight platform providing solutions available for the disclosure of inside information for electricity and seven for gas in the EU Member States:
- NPS (Nord Pool Spot) operates a platform for the disclosure of inside information helping users to quickly and simply comply with both REMIT and the Transparency Regulations. It publishes inside information for Nordic and Baltic countries. A large part of the UMMs are directly linked to changes in capacity, while any other information is covered by the market messages. The NPS website provides web feeds and allows the exporting of messages into excel files. NPS offers a possibility to submit data directly from the UMM system to the ENTSO-E Transparency Platform.
- EEX (European Energy Exchange) collects and publishes inside information (unavailabilities and market information in the form of an ad hoc ticker) for six Member States, as well as for Switzerland, on behalf of market participants. Unavailabilities related to electricity production, consumption and storage are displayed. In the new website launched in September 2014, companies can request EEX to forward power production data according to the Transparency Regulations to ENTSO-E.
- RTE (Réseau de transport d'électricité) publishes data received from producers and related to unavailabilities of production units and generation units located in Metropolitan France (excluding Corsica). Information is pub- lished for planned and unplanned outages of more than 100 MW for generation units and for more than 200 MW for production units, as well as changes of 100 MW or more in actual availability of a generation or a production unit, expected or planned to last for at least one hour. Additional information, complementary to the availability information published on a regular basis, is provided on a separate web page with the aim of helping market participants to better assess the overall supply situation.
- HUPX (Hungarian Power Exchange) provides a website which allows for the disclosure of inside information according to its publication rules approved by the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority. In- side information is split into two main categories: one is related to (un)availabilities (outages or losses of capacity and use of facilities for the production, storage, consumption or transmission of electricity), the other includes all other market information with a potentially significant effect on prices such as changes of market orientation or bankruptcy proceedings.
- GPI (Exchange Information Platform) has been established by the Polish Power Exchange to construct a single platform for the disclosure of inside information on a national level. It allows information to be aggregated on planned and unplanned outages in one place and provides information on current and future available production capacity. The reported information on capacity outages is graphically presented in a calendar and aggregated by totalling all outages for any single day.
- REN (Redes Energéticas Nacionais) provides a platform for the disclosure of inside information, publishing information messages related to unavailabilities of production and transmission of electricity. REN guarantees the delivery of the information published on its platform to the ENTSO-E Transparency Platform. Whereas some of the headings are in English, the current version of the website only displays market messages in the original language.
- ELEXON operates a web portal which enables market participants to submit inside information under REMIT. Information messages are published relating to incidents such as planned or unplanned outages and other market information which may have an effect on energy prices.
- APG (Austrian Power Grid) provides a platform that fulfils the obligation of inside information publication under REMIT. It is operated by the Austrian TSO APG and is the only platform for the disclosure of inside information dedicated to cross-border transmission unavailabilities. The published market information concerns intraday- stops and transmission capacity changes at national borders. The website has web feeds and delivers the relevant market information to the ENTSO-E Transparency Platform, according to the Transparency Regulations.
- Energinet.dk provides an information platform that is a fast and simple way to publicly disclose inside information and other gas market messages related to the Danish natural gas market. UMMs contain information that is relevant to the capacity and use of facilities for the production, storage, consumption or transmission of natural gas. Other gas market messages include information on commercial relevance to market participants in general, e.g. information on mergers and acquisitions.
- National Grid's platform provides a facility for market participants to disclose inside information under REMIT on a single website, and facilitates the receipt of live updates on new notifications via email and Twitter. In addition, the page displays a list of market participants' own external websites that provide inside information notifications.
- CEGH (Central European Gas Hub)'s platform allows for the publication of inside information accord- ing to Article 4(1) of REMIT. It is endorsed by E-Control Austria, and is intended to offer a service for the publication of inside information by market participants in Central and Eastern Europe in an effective and timely manner. At the time of writing, the publications available on the website only concern the Austrian gas market. The platform provides a web feed, and CEGH states that the platform is under continuous adaptation and new functionalities are added in order to respond to market needs. The service is, for the time being, provided free of charge.
- EEX (European Energy Exchange) - in addition to the electricity platform for the disclosure of inside information, the EEX website also allows market participants to disclose inside information related to natural gas consumption in three categories (capacity, usage and availability) and covers three countries: Germany, AUstria and the Czech Republic.
- The HUPX (Hungarian Power Exchange) platform is available for the disclosure of inside information for the gas market in parallel with the electricity market. However, the number of gas market messages is much lower compared to the ones directly related to electricity. The ratio is around 1 to 9. Most of the information on the gas market concerns natural gas consumption. There are also messages related to the transport, distribution and storage of gas. HUPX charges an annual contribution which covers the platform's operational and development costs.
- GRTgaz's platform for the disclosure of inside information presents a list of publications according to Article 4(1) of REMIT. The platform is operated by the TSO, and the published market messages concern reductions or unavailabilities of transmission capacity and other market information.
- Fosmax LNG and Elengy - the French LNG REMIT Central Collection and Publication Platform provides a facility for the disclosure of inside information on the use of LNG terminals by market participants under Article 4(1) of REMIT. At the time of writing, there were no publications available on the platform.
News service providers
Additionally, in some markets, news service providers (such as Platts, Reuters and Montel etc.) have established services further disseminating the inside information that market participants have disclosed on their websites or on platforms.
Pursuant to ACER, these services "contribute to the effective disclosure of inside information, and enhance transparency within the markets" (ACER's annual report on its activities under REMIT in 2014, p. 50).
ACER's List of Inside Information Platforms
The important source of information on the main electricity and gas transparency platforms in the EU is the ACER' List of Inside Information Platforms (as an integral part of the ACER's REMIT Portal), which lists the solutions the Agency is aware of. The said website, as visited on 2 December 2015, lists, non-exhaustively, nine transparency platforms for electricity and eight transparency platforms for gas.
The Agency decided to publish a list of platforms for the disclosure of inside information for wholesale electricity and gas markets, available across the EU, on the REMIT Portal in January 2015.
Energy market transparency platforms
As was said above, the energy regulators' view is the use of centralised platforms is an effective tool for the public disclosure of inside information. ACER considers, the use of platforms benefits both those who submit messages and those who want to use this information for their business decisions. However, large differences across platforms and company websites (in the way UMMs are published and presented), which may lead to information gaps and a lessening of market transparency, are recalled in ACER's reports.
The major shortcomings underlined are:
- The main differences in the way inside information is disclosed relate to the nomenclature, formats and level of detail used across platforms. Such variance may limit the achievable level of transparency and also make the collection of UMMs from various platforms more challenging.
- Further challenges may arise from the overlap in the ways inside information is published, as information on a single event may be reported via multiple channels making data collection and use challenging.
- The dual approach in the disclosure mechanism, in the form of market participants' own websites, and inside information platforms, may lengthen the search for information.
- There is a partial coincidence between the reporting obligations stemming from the Transparency Regulations and Article 4(1) of REMIT.
- Some confusion may arise from the fact that there are some countries which are covered by more than one platform for the disclosure of inside information, on the other side there are still countries without an available platform.