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Third Energy Package

DATE: 24.06.2011

Third Energy Package


On 25 June 2009, the Council of the European Union formally approved what has become known as the “Third Energy Package”, a set of legislative measures that continues the programme of liberalisation of the European electricity and gas markets. The Third Energy Package largely replaces its predecessor, the Second Energy Package, which was passed in 2003. The main elements of the Third Energy Package are, broadly speaking:

  • the imposition of further requirements in relation to unbundling (ie. the separation between (i) the production, generation and supply of electricity/gas and (ii) the transmission, distribution or transportation of electricity/gas);
     
  • provision for increased powers of oversight, and further co-operation between, national energy regulators; and
     
  • the creation of a pan-European “Agency for the Co-operation of Energy Regulators”.

Following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, the Third Energy Package entered into force on 2 September 2009. Member States are given 18 months in which to comply with most requirements of the legislation, although extended deadlines apply to the unbundling requirements due to the structural changes that may be necessary.

The immediate effect of the Third Energy Package is likely to be confined to the relatively small number of energy undertakings that own and/or operate transmission and/or distribution networks for electricity or natural gas. However, on a longer timescale, the legislation is of relevance to all participants in European energy markets due to its implications for industry structure, the management of network connections and regulatory oversight.

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