PositionMember of European Parliament

MEPs at the last meeting in December of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) had a lengthy set of documents to wade through on the Energy Package (see Europolitics 3439-3440). Unofficially, though, even more papers were circulating on the sidelines as to the effects of ownership unbundling on electricity prices. The French government had prepared a summary for MEPs at the ITRE meeting, on 19 December, illustrating the "errors" shown by Capgemini in the Commission's impact assessment. The French also gave a critical analysis of a 20-page missive by Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs sent on 11 December. This letter was intended as a detailed response to questions raised by ITRE Chair Angelika Niebler (EPP-ED, Germany) and gave more recent data on the price effects of ownership unbundling.

The French note, explicitly criticising the commissioner's reply to Niebler, makes great use of the study by consultants Capgemini. This study criticises Piebalgs's impact assessment, issued on 19 September together with the internal market package. According to the French note, aside from ownership unbundling (OU) violating property rights, it is based on a faulty analysis by the Commission. The methodology applied by the Commission to calculate the price indexes of OU and non-OU countries, that is those having or not having applied ownership unbundling, is "very obscure". The methodology could not be verified by Capgemini consultants who reached "completely different" results. "The impact assessment's price index is a black box and we...

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