New rules to prevent abuses in wholesale energy trading, and thus protect end consumers, were adopted by Parliament on Wednesday. Wholesale trading will now be monitored independently across the EU, to enable Member States to prevent and punish anti-competitive behaviour.

The EU Regulation on energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT) - approved with 616 votes in favour, 26 against and 24 abstentions - will govern all wholesale energy trading in the EU, covering contracts and derivatives for the supply and transportation of natural gas and electricity. New rules will ban the use of insider information and market manipulation practices, while national penalties for breaches will have to reflect the damage done to consumers.

"We want pricing for consumers to be transparent and unfortunately there are too many deals in the wings paid for at the end by the consumers with too high energy prices something which greatly affects employment and growth. Europe needs more transparent energy markets protected against abuse and this regulation is aimed at that" said rapporteur Jorgo Chatzimarkakis (ALDE, DE) during the debate.

"Energy must remain affordable for everyone as it is the key to the economy. I welcome this important regulation which guarantees transparency and prevents abuses in wholesale energy trading ensuring affordability and fairness in the market. The regulation will help to ensure more transparent pricing across the EU", said Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek.

ACER's monitoring role

All trade deals will be monitored by the newly established Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) which will supply the data to EU Member States, to aid them in investigating breaches of the regulation and enforce remedies. To balance ACER's powers with those of national regulators and ensure its independence, its Director will be required to consult them on REMIT issues, but will not be bound by their opinions.

EU register

At Parliament's request, an EU register will be drawn up, based on national registers and listing all energy traders. No market participant will be able to enter into a transaction unless it has been registered. 

Next steps

Once the regulation is agreed formally at first-reading it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal. The provisions on the reporting of information by traders to ACER (the list of contracts and derivatives which must be reported and uniform rules to be applied), will take effect six months after the Commission approves the necessary implementing acts.

Procedure: Co-decision (1st reading)

Debate: 13.09.2011

Vote: 14.09.2011