The Energy Code empowers the Energy Regulation Commission (CRE) to define the methodology for establishing tariffs for the use of natural gas transmission networks, gas storage facilities and LNG terminals. CRE can make changes to the tariff levels and structure deemed justified in light of operators’ accounts and any expected changes in operating or investment expenses.
Considering EU Regulation 2017/460, which establishes a network code setting out the rules on harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas, CRE deliberated on tariffs for natural gas transmission systems, storage facilities and LNG terminals. These tariffs address a number of objectives, including proper functioning of the wholesale gas market, supporting the energy transition by enabling biomethane injection, and ensuring proper safety and environmental standards. The elements listed below are particularly relevant to methane emissions management.
Research and development
Subject to the operator’s proposals, a net operating expenses budget for research and development can be approved, covering goals related to safety and integrity, energy transition and operational performance. These include resources for research and development on infrastructure integrity, smart grid management and the reduction of environmental impacts.
Incentives on energy costs
Network tariffs are calculated using income and expense assumptions for the different elements covered by these tariffs. An ex post adjustment mechanism, the expenses and revenue clawback account, helps to resolve differences between actual expenses and income and projected expenses and income for elements which are difficult for gas system operators to predict and control. To encourage operators to control energy expenses (gas and electricity) and CO2 allowances, only 80% of the differences of those costs compared to the previous year's updated energy expenses trajectory are covered by this mechanism. The remaining 20% of this difference is for the benefit or at the expense of the operator to encourage them to stay below the defined trajectory.
A mechanism to monitor service quality is set for both operators, covering key indicators related to their activity. Monitored indicators must be sent each year and aggregated to the monthly level by the Transmission System Operators to CRE and published on their websites. These include annual greenhouse gas emissions and monthly greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the volume of gas transported. A separate indicator tracks methane emissions from gas networks (including diffuse losses, venting and accidental leaks), in relation to the volume of gas transported.