The German Path to Natural Gas Liberalisation: Is it a special case?

The opening of the German gas market to liberalisation and competition could be considered something unique in Europe. Six years after the market was formally opened by the introduction of a new energy law in April 1998 and the amendment of the competition law in the same year the general perception on the European level is still very negative. The EU Commission, in its fourth benchmark report released at the beginning of 2004, bemoaned, not for the first time, the lack of competition in Germany: ‘progress in Germany and Austria is still very disappointing’ 1 is the straightforward statement in the report. Even the German government concluded in a monitoring report that was published at the end of August 2003: ‘competition in the gas sector developed only in the market for big users and even in this sector only to a limited extent. The main reasons are a different supply situation compared to the power market and the lack of a workable model for network access’.

By: Heiko Lohmann