Electricity Market

Following the deregulation of the electricity markets in Europe consumers can freely select their electricity supplier and draw up individual supply agreements with their preferred supplier. Most of the electrical energy is traded directly between the producer and the consumer but brokers can also function as intermediaries (OTC trade = over-the-counter trade). Exchange trading, where producers, traders or electricity consumers place sale or purchase bids on the electricity exchanges thus determining the supply and demand curves which are used as a basis for determining the prices and the supply volumes, are growing in importance.

Balance groups: to offset differences between feed-in and extraction

To ensure frequency and voltage stability, the amount of electricity fed into the grid must always be exactly the same as the amount that is extracted by the consumers. Producers and consumers are bundled in balance groups. Each balance group is obliged to balance energy consumption and generation within the group. In the event of unforeseen fluctuations in generation (e.g. through power plant failures, changing wind speeds in the case of wind power) or deviations from the expected consumption level, the energy balance in the grid must be guaranteed by the control area manager through the connection or disconnection of generation units (e.g. special backup power plants) ("minute reserve"). The costs of these balancing measures are charged to the balance group that was responsible for the respective fluctuation. In Austria, these fluctuations are determined and billed through an independent balance group coordinator, APCS Power Clearing and Settlement AG.

Steps for registering a new balance group in APG control area

1. Registering a new balance group takes place at APCS Power Clearing & Settlement (contact: office@apcs.at). The staff at APCS will assist you with the registration process.
2. APCS will check the information submitted and will provide us, Austrian Power Grid AG, with a data sheet with your basic data.
3. Upon receipt of the data sheet, the corresponding data transmission contracts are written up by us and transmitted to you together with an accompanying letter informing you of the further steps.

On the part of APG, therefore, the following requirements are to be met for the registration process:
a) return of the signed data transmission contracts (with APG as the transmission grid operator and the control area manager, respectively), together with all accompanying documents, filled out
b) a data test with our central control station for sending schedules (contact: + 43 (0) 50320 – 53220)

Electricity trading crosses borders

The liberalisation of the European energy market resulting from the EU power trading regulation 1228/2003 is to create a pan-European marketplace for free power trading. In the process, the highest goal is to primarily generate electricity in areas where it is especially possible from an economic and environmentally friendly perspective (key word: renewable energies) and, using this advantage in the generation of electricity, to then to deliver this energy via transmission grids to the areas where it is actually needed. In accordance with the EU guidelines, the saving resulting from this should go to the benefit of the consumers (industry, households) or contribute to the improvement of the generation and supply situation (e.g. the promotion of renewable energies for climate protection or grid expansion).

The most important instrument for achieving this goal is the liberalisation of the European electricity market. According to this, the energy generated is offered to interested parties (traders, regional energy suppliers) via free commercial markets (electricity markets) and results in a pan-European, transparent and discrimination-free trade system from which the producer and consumer profit equally.