As energy rates soar across Europe and some energy-intensive industries are already grinding to a halt because operating makes no financial sense at this stage, European energy regulators are ready to act on the matter of natural gas prices and sufficiency, given that this is also one of the main means of power production.
On October 20, nine energy watchdogs from countries in Southern Europe will meet in Athens on an initiative by the Greek and French regulators; their aim will be to conclude an informal action plan for controlling the situation developing with the problems in natural gas quantities, so as to prevent any shortages ahead of winter.
Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) and its French counterpart, the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), have prepared a common draft action plan that will be forwarded to the other seven regulators for them to read over and submit their remarks; the objective set is for the Athens meeting on October 20 to end in an informal joint statement regarding common interventions in the electricity and natural gas markets.
Whether the meeting in Athens evolves into an informal body of Southern European energy regulators – in markets more vulnerable during times of crisis – will depend on the length of the current energy situation. However, it is clear the ongoing crisis is disproportionately hurting countries of the European South: Power rates in Italy are 60 euros per megawatt hour above those in Germany, at €242.46/MWh against €184.12/MWh, while in Spain and Portugal electricity rates have also soared, climbing to €228.59/MWh on Wednesday.
Greece and Bulgaria, which have a common operation status, are among Europe’s most expensive, as are Serbia and Croatia, while Malta and Cyprus constitute a separate category as they are not connected to the European grid.
At the Athens meeting the nine watchdogs will assess the measures each country has taken to rein in price hikes, and exchange their experiences concerning their management.