Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission
The Commission agrees with the assessment of the Honourable Members that powerline communications (PLC) are a promising technology for a wide range of important applications, as e.g. one of the options to ensure communication of components of a smart grid and that their development should not be unduly hampered.
PLC are subject of the European standard EN 55022 published under the EMC Directive(1). Currently both, its 1998 and 2006 versions can be used. As of October 2009 onwards the 1998 version is foreseen to be withdrawn and the 2006 version will be the only one giving presumption of conformity.
While there was not a significant number of interference cases caused by PLC in the past, the 2006 standards imposes very stringent limits to PLC. However, some new promising networks standards suitable for PLC are developed in the ongoing standardisation process following a Commission mandate to Cenelec to adopt standards for emissions from powerline networks rather than from powerline devices.
Therefore, the Commission will consult Member States and stakeholders in the context of the EMC Directive Working Party of 30 June 2009 on the consequences of the current situation. One of the possible options would be to maintain the 1998 standard for a longer period, pending the final adoption of the new emerging network standards that will be compatible with powerline communications networks. Another option would be to amend the 2006 version in a way to avoid that its limits unduly hamper PLC.
As to the transparency of the procedures in Cenelec the Commission does not have indications, that the processes that have led to the revision were not accessible to all stakeholders but were in line with the requirements of transparency laid down in Directive 98/34/EC(2).
Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations, OJ L 204, 21.7.1998.