PRICE: Price Transparency of Electricity Prices Charged to End Consumers (PRICE)

Published on: 07/08/2013
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PRICE (Price Transparency of Electricity Prices Charged to End Consumers) is an information system that allows the electric companies operating in Spain, to report the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism the statistical information on the prices charged to end consumers, in order to send the information the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT). The procedure is regulated in the ITC/606/2011 Order, according to the methodology set out in Directive 2008/92/EC of the European Parliament and of Council of October 22, 2008. 

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The main PRICE objectives are described below:

1) Facilitate the implementation of European regulations set forth in Directive 2008/92/EC of the European Parliament on a Community procedure to improve the transparency of prices charged to industrial end-users of gas and electricity, taking into account the new legislative framework of the electricity sector by standardizing the information that the suppliers provide to the Administration, in order to communicate, in aggregate nationwide, to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT).

2) Reduce administrative burdens, paper processing and the volume of information and bookkeeping. These savings have been estimated at more than € 30.000 in 2012.

3) Simplify the procedures for companies when performing the procedure completely by electronic means, avoiding unnecessary travel.

4) Increase the availability of information on the Eurostat European Statistical System and reducing the delivery time of data sent to the office, compared with the time needed if collected manually.

5) Diversify the number of formats in which you can attach the information, facilitating the penetration of data exchange standards that promote interoperability between the Ministry and the marketing companies, among which the XML (eXtensible Markup Language) format figures.

6) Availability to check the information sent at all times for each electricity distributor, grouping each shipment as a separate dossier indicating the processing cycle stages in each case.

7) Generate automatically, in format Excel sheets, reports with the national aggregate form, the information to be sent to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat).

8) Systematize the monitoring of the quality of the information received, allowing analysis of the data, selectively eliminating any of the shipments, so that we can more easily identify what data are distorting the result expected.

Policy Context

By the ITC/606/2011 Order of March 16, which determines the content and form of submission of information on prices charged to final consumers of electricity to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Spanish legislation is adapted to the new methodology set out in Directive 2008/92/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008. This Directive is about a Community procedure to improve the transparency of prices charged to industrial end-users of gas and electricity, taking into account the new legislative framework of the electricity sector by standardizing the information that the suppliers provide to the Administration. This information is transferred, in aggregate national form, to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT).

Marketers are obligated to communicate information with the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and with the competent authority. This information is relative about access fees or tolls, prices, consumption, billing and terms of sale to consumers, distribution consumer and corresponding volume by category of consumption, and also any information related to the activities they carry within the electricity sector.

Therefore, the PRICE system has adapted well to that legislation. It also incorporates the prices for other periods that are applied once reinvoiced, according to the order IET/843/2012, in of 25 April, relative to establishing tolls access from 1 April 2012 and certain tariffs and premiums for special regime facilities.

Description of target users and groups

PRICE has a significant impact on the following groups:

  • Companies in the electricity sector - Procedures are simplified, systematized  and automated  so relevant information about the data they have can be provided.
  • EUROSTAT European Agency - Electric sector data can be sent more quickly and effectively so information is available in shorter time intervals than before.
  • Citizens - By sending the EUROSTAT office, in a fast and efficient way, available data relevant to a strategic sector such as electricity, decisions, actions and initiatives can be taken, necessary to improve a basic service for citizens.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

For the development and implementation of the PRICE the following resources have been used: 

  • Economics resources:  an initial budget of 76.800€ was assigned. 
  • Human Resources: 1 analyst, 1 analyst programmer and 1 civil servants working at the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain have been managing and supervising the tasks in order to ensure the correctness of the requirements and solution provided.
  • Ministry’s common resources: in order to encourage the reuse of resources and capabilities and reduce the spending in every project, the ministry owns a set of horizontal services for free reuse within the ministry in development of new applications when required. PRICE has benefited from the common resources of the ministry, translating this into savings in the budget.

To facilitate system development PRICE was convenient to break it down into different subsystems, which are the following:

  1. Subsystem Reports and Listings. From a web interface accessible by managers reports are incorporated. It also contains a set of possible filters to facilitate the exploitation of information, to finally send the required data to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT).
  2. Subsystem Help to Data Quality. The electrical energy marketers may review semiannual and annual data sent to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, through a web interface in the format defined in the relevant annexes to the Order ITC/606/2011. Such support subsystem will allow the trader interact in order to analyze the data. In turn, managers can simulate selectively delete any of the data sent, so you can more easily detect where the deviation has occurred or possible error.
  3. Subsystem to send information in XML format. The data defined in the Annexes of the Order ITC/606/2011 on XML format may be attached into the form itself enabled Web in order to sending information from the traders. This format is optional, another option is entering data on the form.

Technology solution

From the technological point of view have used the following technologies:

  • Database: it is SQL Server 2005, stored procedures have been developed, as well as tables and views needed to exploit the information. The information received and recorded in the database can be further exploited using the reports section of the application or by consulting the database itself.
  • Communication with other services: the application will communicate with the web services of the electronic registry and the common repository, both common services to the Ministry of Industry.
  • Technology: the system is developed in C # and ASP.NET, deployed in an IIS 6.0 Web server. And it is compliant with W3C validations for CSS and XHTML 1.0.
  • Multilinguism: it supports the spanish oficial languages such as spanish, catalán, galego and euskera plus serveral comunitary languages: English, French and German.
Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

The electricity marketing companies are required to submit the data electronically to the Directorate General for Energy Policy and Mines. The data are about end consumers electricity in the conditions and terms listed in the annexes of the Order ITC/606/2011, of March 16. The data shipping has been running since the publication of these regulations. Thus, companies provide the Directorate General for Energy Policy and Mines requested information within 45 calendar days following the last month of the period to which it relates the same, following the model set out in the annexes to the Ministry Order.

The Directorate General for Energy Policy and Mines seeks and checks for significant anomalies and inconsistencies in the reported data, and then asks companies to facilitate disaggregated data, and the methods of calculation or estimation in which data submitted are based, in order to evaluate or correct any information that is deemed irregular.

To carry out this task, PRICE has mechanisms to effectively monitor the quality of the data sent, both managers such as the companies themselves. Also, it is considered advisable to increase the number of formats in which information can be attached, facilitating the penetration of data exchange standards that promote interoperability between the Ministry and the marketing companies, among which the XML (eXtensible Markup Language) format is.

This need is particularly critical by the fact that the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism forwards the information received, once homogenized and, if necessary, debugged , to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT) in the two months following the period which it relates.

Return on investment

Return on investment: €49-299,000

Track record of sharing

The price paid for electricity consumption, as a basic service, has a special impact on the economy of citizens and businesses. Through the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT) information on prices and consumption is centralized, different member states have an obligation to contribute to it. In the case of Spain, the process has been remarkably streamlined through PRICE system, allowing greater availability of information in a timely manner.

Lessons learnt

The EUROSTAT statistics on final electricity prices collects, both for domestic consumers type and industrial consumers type, the average prices of electricity for consumers, characterized at various intervals of annual electricity consumption. Analyzing the evolution of selected consumers in the last five years in the price of electricity without taxes, conclusions can be drawn in both the electricity price paid by domestic consumers and in the industrial consumer with respect to the corresponding prices media in the European Union countries. With PRICE system, thus, these data can be provided in a more rapid, accurate and effective manner, contributing to the harmonization of statistical methods of member states. The importance of these data serves to guide macroeconomic policies within the European Union.

Scope: National, Pan-European