Discussion Papers

Daniel Schäffner

Regulierungsökonomische Aspekte des informatorischen Unbundling im Energiebereich
Nr. 259 / Dezember 2004


The current Directives for the domestic market of electricity and gas, issued by the European Union, provide guidelines for the separation of network activities from generation and supply of vertically integrated electricity utilities (IEU). This takes place on the basis of guidelines concerning the legal and operational unbundling as well as the unbundling of accounts and certain information. The conversion into national German right takes place in the context of the amendment of the German Energy Supply Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz), which is not yet adopted.

Irrespective of their size, all IEU are prescribed by the informational unbundling to treat commercially sensitive data of the network area confidential for other divisions within the company. Information disclosed regarding its own activities, which may be commercially advantageous, shall be made available in a non-discriminatory manner. Against this background we describe the methods of conversion of informational unbundling and show possibilities how these guidelines can be controlled by the regulator. In this context we focus on the requirements of the IT environment. The conversion of informational unbundling helps to increase competition. Under the premise of "as-if competition" it is an absolute condition that all market participants have the same level of information, which is not given in the environment of a vertically integrated electricity utility. Therefore regulative encroachments are necessary in order to keep the extent of this asymmetry as small as possible.

The conversion of informational unbundling in electricity utilities proceeds via a combination of organizational and technical measures. Dealing with the transformation of the IT environment the technical measures are discussed as main focus. Important principles are the separate data management of the individual divisions, the verification of the data exchanged and the workflow of companywide business processes, which must be accomplished as well for company internal departments as for external competitors. The most frequently installed software program by IEU – SAP R/3 IS-U/CCS - can be used to organise all internal business management procedures and applies a common data management based on a relational data base.

The guidelines concerning informational unbundling can be realized mainly by changes of the authorization concepts. Therefore, the economic relevance and the most important processes and departments, which typically exist within an IEU, are being analysed in this paper. On the basis of these processes a control framework can be developed which serves as a first approach for the conversion and regulative control of the informational unbundling. [Full version only available in German language]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.


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