The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) is an independent regulatory authority established by Law 2773/1999, which transposed Directive 96/92/EC into the Greek legal order, and it is empowered to monitor the operation of all sectors of the energy market, provide advice to the competent State bodies, and adopt regulatory measures towards the full liberalization of the electricity and natural gas markets.
Under Law 2773/1999, and its subsequent amendments, RAE was assigned with advisory, monitoring and control competences in all sectors of the energy market, such as electricity generation from conventional fuels, renewable energy sources and natural gas. Under Law 3054/2002 specific responsibilities were assigned to RAE regarding the organization and operation of the oil products market.
Law 3851/2010 brought substantial changes to the legal framework of Renewable Energy Sources (RES), as well as RAE’s competences in the area. These changes affected the licensing process for RES units, and the evaluation of the applications for a production license. In fact, RAE has now taken a decisive role in the issuance of the production licenses, whereas the Ministry of Energy retained only a legality check competence over RAE’s decisions, that was also later abolished under .
The role of RAE as the national energy regulator was upgraded after 2011, based on the provisions of the Third European Energy Package, considerably enlarging its power to issue biding decisions in relation to all relevant regulatory issues for the market in electricity and natural gas to function properly.
More specifically, on 3 September 2009, the European Union adopted the so-called Third European Energy Package (Third Energy Package), which consists of:
The Regulations above, which pursuant to EU law are directly applicable, entered into force on 3 March 2011. European Directives 2009/72/EC and 2009/73/EC were transposed by Energy Law 4001/2011, and entered into force on 22 August 2011 (Gazette A’ 179). This Law redefined the nature and the role of RAE, so that it “…constitutes the national regulatory authority in electricity and natural gas sectors, according to Directives 2009/72/EC and 2009/73/EC” (Article 4 of the Law). Pursuant to Law 4001/2011, RAE has a separate legal personality, enjoys financial and administrative autonomy , and is empowered with new, and significantly increased, decisive competences.
Pursuant to Chapter III entitled “Responsibilities of RAE”, of Part A of the Energy Law 4001/2011, the main decisive competences of RAE in electricity and natural gas sectors concern in short the following:
- Monitoring and surveillance of energy market
As part of its remit, RAE shall monitor and supervise the operation of the energy market, prepare studies, draft, publish and submit reports, make recommendations, issue decisions or propose that the competent bodies take the necessary measures, including issuing regulatory acts and individual notices, especially for the purpose of compliance with competition rules and the regulatory obligations imposed under the present law, consumer protection, fulfilment of their obligations by general interest service providers, environmental protection, security of supply and the development of the EU internal energy market. The RAE shall therefore monitor and supervise, in particular:
(a) the extent and effectiveness of competition in the energy market, at wholesale and retail level;
(b) prices to household customers, including prepay systems, the percentage of change of supplier, the percentage of supplies cut off, the provision of maintenance services and related charges and customer complaints;
(c) the emergence of distortions of or restrictions on competition and restrictive practices, such as exclusivity clauses that might prevent customers from entering into contracts with more than one supplier simultaneously or restrict their facility to choose a supplier;
(d) the compatibility of terms of electricity and natural gas supply contracts with the facility to cut off the supply and of long-term supply contracts with national and European law;
(e) compliance with the special regulatory obligations incumbent upon undertakings performing energy-related functions in accordance with current provisions and the terms of the licences granted to them.
Within the context of the above, RAE may issue instructions and guidelines, which shall not be binding on third parties, on issues that come within its remit and the exercise thereof, in order to safeguard the proper and uniform application of the regulatory framework of this law and more comprehensive information for interested parties.
Moreover, RAE shall monitor the level of transparency, including of wholesale prices, and shall ensure that undertakings engaged in energy-related activities comply with their obligations in terms of transparency.
- Consumer Protection
The RAE shall supervise the application of consumer protection measures, in accordance with the provisions of Part Two of Energy Law 400/2011.
The RAE shall only examine customer complaints inasmuch as they derive from or relate to matters of regulatory supervision provided for under the present law and specified in the regulatory decisions issued pursuant hereto. The RAE shall not examine matters relating to disputes of a civil or commercial nature.
- Monitoring country’s energy security of supply
The RAE shall monitor the security of energy supply, especially with regard to the balance between supply and demand on the Greek energy market, anticipated future demand, anticipated additional electricity and natural gas production, transmission and distribution potential already programmed or under construction, the standard and level of maintenance and reliability of transmission systems and distribution systems and the application of measures to cover peak demand and conditions on the energy market in terms of the facility to develop new production potential. The RAE shall monitor the implementation of security measures taken in the event of a sudden crisis on the energy market
The RAE is hereby appointed as the competent authority for the application of the measures required under Regulation (EU) No 994/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 concerning measures to safeguard security of gas supply (OJ L 295).
The RAE shall rule on whether or not licenses to pursue energy-related activities should be granted, amended or withdrawn in accordance with the specific provisions of the present law, in keeping with the principles of transparency and equal treatment and taking account of the specific attributes of applicants, consumer protection, environmental protection and the need to safeguard healthy competition. When issuing licenses, the RAE shall take any action needed to ensure that they are in keeping with long-term energy planning forecasts and any restrictions in the long-term plan or in a binding text submitted by the Hellenic Republic to the European Commission or to international organizations.
The RAE shall monitor and control the manner in which rights granted under such licenses are exercised and compliance with their obligations by license holders.
- Monitoring of Independent Transmission System Operators
The RAE shall rule on certification of natural gas and electricity companies in accordance with the criteria and procedure set out in the relevant EU and national law, so that these companies may be appointed as transmission system operators. The RAE shall monitor permanent compliance on the part of transmission system operators with the above legal criteria. The RAE may request any information or data from transmission system operators and undertakings performing any of the functions of production or supply of electricity or natural gas, with due regard for the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information.
- Supervisory Board and Compliance Officer
The compliance officer of an independent transmission operator may only be placed or removed, in accordance with the Energy Law and the terms of the relevant instruction received from the supervisory board of the independent transmission operator, subject to prior approval by the RAE. The RAE may only reject the proposed placement or request that the compliance officer be removed where his independence vis-à-vis the independent transmission operator is not guaranteed or where it is unable to confirm his professional aptitude in relation to the duties required of him.
- Monitoring of the Development Plan
The RAE shall rule on amendments to the development plans prepared by the competent transmission operators, after assessing: (a) if the development plan covers all the requirements identified, and (b) if the development plan is in keeping with the corresponding non-binding Community-wide ten-year development plan for the electricity and natural gas transmission systems prepared in accordance with Regulations (EC) 714/2009 and 715/2009.
The RAE shall monitor and evaluate the application of development plans. The RAE shall also monitor the time needed for the transmission system and distribution system operators to connect users, effect repairs and provide services to system users. The RAE may set deadlines for the above and penalty clauses for the benefit of users if deadlines are missed.
- Approval of tariffs for non-competitive activities
The RAE shall rule on the methodology used to calculate the prices of non-competitive activities, based on transparent criteria, such that these prices do not create distortions and reflect the cost of the services provided. The RAE shall take account of the need to introduce short-term and long-term incentives for transmission system operators and distribution system operators to improve the performance of transmission systems and distribution systems, to promote growth in the energy market, to safeguard the security of supply and to support research activities relating to their remit.
- Granting exemption from third party access obligations
The RAE shall rule on exemptions for all or part of the capacity of the natural gas system and for interconnections with electricity transmission systems in other countries from the obligation to provide access to third parties or from compulsory unbundling, and shall cooperate with the regulatory authorities in other Member States, any third country involved, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators and the European Commission for that purpose.
- Monitoring access to energy interconnections
The RAE shall adopt, monitor, and supervise the application of interconnection access rules, including related prices and the methodology used to calculate them, and capacity allocation and release and congestion management mechanisms, the provision of balancing services and the procedure for the amicable resolution of disputes that arise during the application of the above and any other necessary details. The RAE shall ask the competent transmission system operators for their opinion for this purpose. The RAE shall cooperate, for this purpose, with the regulatory authorities in other interconnected states..
- Regulatory measures for the effective functioning of energy markets
The RAE may impose measures and terms on undertakings engaged in energy-related activities which are deemed necessary in order to safeguard the application of the provisions of the present law, conditions of healthy competition and the smooth operation of the market..
From the above, it can be concluded that RAE has a wide range of duties and competences, resulting in an immense workload that needs to be properly managed. In this regard, to effectively exercise its duties the Energy Law 4001/2011 provides RAE with specific, very important, additional tools, such as the ability to collect any form of data, conduct investigations, examine complaints and consequently impose sanctions, adopt interim measures, etc.
RAE operates in accordance with the Regulation for Internal Operation and Management (Presidential Decree 139/2001, Gazette A’ 121/18.6.2001).