Network access

Transmission system operators grant all gas suppliers non-discriminatory access to their systems. This lays the foundation for well-functioning gas trading in Germany. Competition is fostered in the interests of consumers, who benefit from a wider choice of suppliers and lower energy prices.

The regulated network access model was introduced with the second amendment to the German Energy Industry Act (EnWG) in 2005. Network access is regulated by the cooperation agreements between German gas suppliers (KoV) and the standard terms and conditions of transmission system operators. In addition to the Energy Industry Act, the legal framework in Germany is defined by the Gas Network Access Ordinance (GasNZV) and the Gas Network Charge Ordinance (GasNEV).

Entry-exit model

Access to the transmission system is organized by the entry-exit model or “two-contract model”. In Germany, the system functions on the basis of the merger of the supply areas of several transmission system operators to form market areas . Gas suppliers conclude contracts with the entry or exit network operators under which capacities at the various entry and exit points are defined. This also automatically creates a virtual trading point where gas can be delivered or offtaken. A fee is charged both for the supply of gas to the system and for the offtake of gas from the system. The fee does not depend on the transmission route or distance but is determined only by the energy quantities corresponding to the entry and exit capacities agreed.

Regulation of network charges

The network charge is determined on the basis of the maximum income limits set by the National Regulatory Authority (Bundesnetzagentur/BNetzA) in the course of incentive regulation. One objective of incentive regulation is to eliminate inefficiency among network operators by ensuring that the level of network charges made by comparable network operators is based on the fees charged by the most efficient operator in each case.

At the start of the second regulatory period at the beginning of 2013, the National Regulatory Authority (Bundesnetzagentur/BNetzA) carried out its second efficiency benchmarking. On this basis, network operators are called upon to adjust their income from network charges to the level of the most efficient supplier. As a result, the objective of transmission system operators should be to operate as efficiently as possible and to ensure cost efficiency. In the end, these cost reductions will be passed on to consumers.