The Board of Regulators’ meeting in Sandanski confirmed the role of the common regulatory policies for the implementation of specific ideas at regional level in favor of consumers

The national regulatory authorities of the Balkan countries have the will and a clear vision to achieve common regulatory objectives through an active and fruitful multilateral dialogue through expert discussions and exchange of experience on matters of mutual interest. The regulators’ efforts in the newly established Balkan Advisory Forum (BAF) are aimed at forming common positions and recommendations on current regulatory issues and developing of a stable regulatory and market framework, conducive to investment in gas, electricity and water sectors and ensuring sustainable, competitive and accessible services to customers. These were the main highlights of the Balkan Advisory Forum Board of Regulators’ meeting, held on 29 March 2019 in Sandanski.

Delegations of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, headed by its Chairman, Assoc. Prof. Ivan Ivanov PhD, of the Energy Regulatory Commission of the Republic of North Macedonia, led by its President Marko Bislimoski, of the Regulatory Authority for Energy of the Republic of Greece, led by the regulator’s member Prof. Dr. Apostolos Gotsias and of the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia, headed by its President of the Council Dejan Popovic, took part in the Board of Regulators’ meeting in Sandanski.

At the opening of the meeting, the heads of regulators highlighted the role of BAF as a factor for consolidating member states’ regulatory policies and generating concrete ideas at regional level of benefit to consumers. They stated that it is of top priority for the organization to find joint solutions in the field of natural gas and electricity sectors and stressed the need for regulatory support for gas interconnectors’ construction in the region and the establishment of regional gas exchanges.

During the meeting the participants discussed an Interim report on the gas market liberalization in the Balkans, prepared by the ad-hoc working group under the Board of Regulators. Experts from the four countries held presentations on the current state of the national gas markets – consumption, price regulation, transmission tariff harmonization, licensing regimes in the sector, balancing platforms and trading platforms establishment, system connectivity. A discussion was held on the drafting of a common position on the national regulators role for accelerated liberalization of the regional gas market. It was emphasized that without a single market in the region, it is impossible to operate a real free natural gas market, and the realization of this goal will allow member states to have more entry points for supplies, which creates prerequisites for competitive prices, reducing energy dependence and enhancing energy security. According to the parties, the regulatory policies synchronization in the process of market liberalization, in compliance with European gas rules and directives, will create conditions for investment in gas infrastructure and will boost free trade. This will allow the region to emerge from its role as a natural gas transporter and become an active trading actor.

The Board of Regulators also exchanged views on other important regulatory activities - monitoring regional wholesale electricity markets and introducing REMIT rules. In the afternoon session, high-tech companies in the power sector presented intelligent energy management and electricity grid monitoring practices, allowing for a significant reduction in operating costs for companies.