The EU-funded project “Technical Assistance to AERS – Approximation of NRA tasks to the Third Energy Package” is part of the EU Action Programme for Serbia (2014) and was implemented from July 2018 – April 2020. The project provided support to the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia (AERS) in developing and enhancing policies, tasks, procedures and methodologies that are compliant with best regulatory practices and applicable provisions of the 3rd EU Internal Energy Market legislation, the Infrastructure Package and applicable Network Codes.
As part of the wider energy market reforms stipulated under the new Energy Law (2014) and as a Contracting Party of the European Community Treaty, Serbia has to align policy enforcement, monitoring, and harmonisation of its legislation with the EU Energy Acquis, and to continue with further market opening by implementing the provisions of the 3rd Energy Package. AERS is the independent regulatory body in Serbia that oversees energy market development based on principles of competition and non-discrimination and provides the transparent regulatory framework necessary for the efficient functioning of the energy market.
By ensuring the efficient functioning of the energy market, Serbian citizens will have access to a reliable and secure supply of energy. In this respect, the project provided support to AERS in the areas of upgrading the quality of services for consumers, price regulation, and smart meter roll-out. The project also developed procedures for the certification of transmission system operators that will be used to verify the operators’ compliance with the unbundling rules stipulated in the Third Energy Package. The first steps were also put into place for the design of a web-based price comparison tool for electricity and natural gas that will contribute to a fully transparent energy market.
The project also assisted AERS in upgrading its internal market monitoring practices. After assessing the current monitoring practices of AERS in terms of scope, efficiency and effectiveness, a number of tools were prepared that enhance and improve these processes.
Regulatory mechanisms were also developed to help stimulate energy network infrastructure investment. Support was provided and internal procedures and tools were prepared for AERS for assessing and monitoring network development plans. Recommendations for regulatory investment incentives were also developed for managing and mitigating the risks of high-risk, large-scale energy network infrastructure projects. The project also supported the development of regulatory mechanisms for calculating the Value of Lost Load, cross-border cost allocation and assessment of unit costs which will contribute to the creation of an integrated EU energy market.
Numerous capacity building activities for representatives of AERS were carried out including study visits and workshops. The workshops provided the opportunity for AERS staff to receive training on the regulatory mechanisms, methodologies and tools developed within this project. Three studies visits were also organised to Slovenia, Italy and Hungary where AERS representatives had the opportunity to view onsite best practices of regulatory authorities, TSOs and DSOs in the three countries and echnage professional views.
The wider impacts of the project on the Serbian energy market are as follows:
- Improved policy enforcement, monitoring and harmonization of national legislation with the EU Energy Acquis;
- A more competitive electricity market based on non-discriminatory practices, publicity and transparency;
- Protection of energy and energy products customers;
- Further development of the electricity and natural gas markets and their connection with the single EU energy market.
In the long-term, the project will help Serbian citizens have access to reliable and sustainable energy at affordable prices, stimulate the network infrastructure investments in the energy sector and contribute to the creation of an integrated EU energy market.