ACER finds contractual congestion still significant in Europe, but data are insufficient

Contractual congestion in Europe, a situation where capacity demand exceeds the technical capacity, occurs on at least one third of the relevant Interconnection points (IPs) for gas transport between Member States, according to the first ACER Annual Report on Contractual Congestion at interconnection points published today. The report also highlights the lack of data for presenting a complete overview of this issue in Europe and calls on ENTSOG and TSOs to significantly improve the data quality and availability for next year’s report. According to the Commission Guidelines on the matter, if IPs are found to be congested in the ACER Congestion reports, a certain obligatory measure (the Firm day-ahead Use-It-Or-Lose-It mechanism) explained below to alleviate congestion has to be applied. The ACER report analyses capacity data in the monitoring period from 1 October to 31 December 2013 and also analysis capacity bookings until the end of 2015. ACER main findings ACER found that at least one third of the relevant IP sides, representing entry and exit for each flow direction at the IP, in the EU are congested. Among them, at least 45 of the congested IP sides are potentially subject to the mandatory application of the Firm day-ahead Use-It-Or-Lose-It mechanism, included in the Commission Guidelines, if congestion persists in the 2014 and 2015 ACER reports. This mechanism guarantees that firm daily capacity is made available to the market on the day before the gas flow, if the booked capacity is not fully used. Furthermore, ACER analysis shows that the Congestion Management Procedures of the Commission Guidelines were not widely applied across the EU and secondary trading of unused capacity was also  limited. Congestion has been identified in North-West Europe, where most data was available, but is also found in the rest of the EU. Lack of sufficient data did not allow presenting a complete overview of the situation in Europe. ACER recommendations ACER recommends ENTSOG and TSOs to increase data availability, quality and consistency on their platforms. The Agency also proposes to the European Commission that in the future the reports are published in June instead of March in order to provide a deeper analysis. ACER also requests National Regulatory Authorities to regularly check TSO data to ensure the quality, validity and completeness of information published.