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Policy Brief / Electricity

The emerging regulatory practice for new businesses related to distribution grids

Author(s): HADUSH Samson, MEEUS Leonardo

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ABSTRACT

Activities related to new businesses, such as market facilitation (e.g. data hub operation), electrical storage, and electric vehicle- charging infrastructure are grey areas in regulation; In these grey areas, there is potential for a market approach, but there are also conditions which can prompt the involvement of DSOs; By taking stock of the emerging regulatory practice, we have identified the main elements that regulators need to consider when moving into these grey areas; If the approach is market based, the regulator needs to design the market; and check whether there is a need to correct market failures. To involve the DSOs is one way, but not the only way, to correct the market failures for new businesses; If the approach is to engage with the DSOs, the role of the regulator is to define the scope of the DSO involvement; to consider dedicated quality of service regulations for each of the new businesses that the DSO is involved in; and to make sure that the DSOs have sufficient incentives to innovate when investing in new businesses; The role of the DSOs in the energy value chain is diverging in Europe, which might be an issue for the ongoing market integration.