LONDON, August 15 /PRNewswire/ --

- Southwest EU Makes Strides in Transparency, but Not Yet Level Playing Field for New Entrants

Spain has the edge over France and Portugal when it comes to providing access to trading and other information about the operation of the European Union's southwest electricity markets, according to research published in Platts EU Energy newsletter.

"There's been quite a bit of discussion at the European Union (EU) level in recent years over the need for more open access to power and gas market information to create a more level playing field in the liberalized European markets -- especially for new entrants," said Platts EU Energy editor Gala Colover, who managed the study. The EU is seeking to create a single power and natural gas market across its 27 member states and beyond, which means Europe has the potential to become the world's biggest single energy market.

Platts' research focused on Southwest Europe in the first of a series of studies known as the Platts European Energy Market Transparency Tracker, reviewing the extent to which European transmission system operators around Europe are compliant with the current legal requirements for market transparency -- which are the EU's Congestion Management Guidelines -- and the availability of information that the European Regulators' Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) wants to see published as detailed in its Guidelines for Good Practice on information management and transparency. The Platts study therefore looked at 52 different transparency criteria-criteria aimed at helping companies enter and trade successfully in the electricity market. These criteria cover data for categories including system load, balancing, interconnector capacity forecasts and network operation.

Spain published 39 of the 52 criteria assessed in the Platts study, giving it a compliance rating of 75%. France complied with 36 of the 52 criteria, scoring a compliance rating of 67%, while Portugal scored lower than the other two both in overall terms and for each category of data. Overall, Portugal only complied with 18 of the 52 criteria, giving it a compliance score of 35%. However, Portuguese grid operator REN said it was in the process of adding additional data and Platts was unable to verify the availability of much of the data because the REN web site was often down and had to be frequently reloaded.

In terms of the quantity of data published, there are large differences between the three countries, with Spain publishing the most data and Portugal the least. It is also apparent that even where data is published by grid operators, it is not necessarily "transparent" in terms of the information the operator intended to convey. Nor is the information necessarily easy to locate on company websites. Language is another potential barrier to the EU's desired transparency; while all three grid operators published some information in English, detailed market information was typically only available in the native language.

"It is hard to see a truly single European power and gas market emerging without the same kind of official recognition of the need for a common working language as in the aviation industry, for example," said Platts EU News Editor Siobhan Hall, who co-authored the study.

"Traders need rapid access to information and in a common international language because they need to make speedy decisions," added Colover.

To learn more about Southwest Europe's readiness for a single EU power and natural gas market, view the Platts Power Market Transparency Tracker Summary at this link: transparency.pdf. (Due to the length of the link, please copy and paste into your browser.) Additional information is available via this podcast:

About Platts

Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading global provider of energy and commodities information. With nearly a century of business experience, Platts serves customers across more than 150 countries. An independent provider, Platts serves the oil, natural gas, electricity, emissions, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical, shipping, and metals markets from 17 offices worldwide. Platts' real-time news, pricing, analytical services and conferences help markets operate with transparency and efficiency. Traders, risk managers, analysts, and industry leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment decisions. Additional information is available at

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2007 were US$6.8 billion. Additional information is available at

Web site:

Kathleen Tanzy, +1-212-904-2860,, Asia: Casey Yew, +65-653-06552 or Europe: Shiona Ramage, +44207-1766153