Do Nordic datahubs increase Nordic retail market competition?

21. December 2017 | News

Harmonisation of market designs can improve cross-border competition in the Nordic electricity retail market. Implementation of datahubs is one important measure. The question is, are currently proposed Datahubs designed appropriately?

The Nordic energy regulators (NordREG) have over the past years taken steps to harmonize the national retail electricity markets in order to facilitate cross-border competition and reduce entry barriers. The design of national datahubs is one such measure. On behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Energy Research has commissioned THEMA Consulting Group and Devoteam to provide a comparison of the existing and planned Nordic datahubs. The question is, do the proposed national datahub designs support the harmonisation targets?

The NordREG recommendations for market harmonisation include 1) supplier centric switching and moving , where the supplier is the only contact for the customer; 2) national data exchange platforms, so-called datahubs, which increase efficiency in data exchange between suppliers, third parties and DSOs; 3) smart meter rollout; and 4) independent price comparison tools.

In our analysis, we found that the datahubs implement and support market harmonisation on a functional level, but that the detailed technical implementation differs. These differences are partially motivated by differences in related regulation, such as differing supplier-of-last-resort regimes, but prevent retailers from using the same IT systems in different markets and thereby increase the cost of market entry.

We recommend that a permanent working group consisting of experts from the Nordic hub projects is established and given the task of promoting technical process harmonisation and identifying potential regulatory changes. In addition, the options for hub-to-hub communication should be considered in detail.

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Theodor Borsche
Consultant, PhD
+ 47 474 72 512