U.K. May Delay Northwest Europe Power Market Coupling, APX Says

Europe’s plan to link day-ahead electricity markets in 15 countries may miss its Nov. 26 start due to changes needed in the U.K. power market, according to Amsterdam-based exchange operator APX Group.

APX and N2EX, a U.K. exchange jointly owned by Nordpool Spot AS and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ), must set up a virtual trading hub to create a single price, APX said. There is a risk the hub may not be ready on time, Olaf Islei, the public and regulatory affairs adviser at APX, told journalists at a briefing in London yesterday.

The European Union plans to link electricity markets in 28 countries by the end of 2014, allowing power to flow freely to markets with the highest prices. When the project is complete, it will reduce national barriers and cut consumer costs, according to the European Commission.

If the U.K. hub isn’t ready, it will push back the linkage deadline for northwest Europe, Islei said.

Stuart Disbrey, a spokesman for N2EX, and David Merino, a spokesman for the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, which is coordinating the coupling of European power markets, weren’t immediately available for comment when contacted by phone.

ACER outlined the risks of delay at an electricity stakeholder advisory group on Oct. 24, Islei said.

The U.K.’s virtual hub will pool trading of power through multiple exchanges and interconnector cables to France and the Netherlands, according to a statement on Nordpool’s website. It will be part of the northwest Europe region, which includes Germany.

The northwest market linkage start date will be confirmed before a meeting of regulators on Nov. 12, Islei said.

The southwest region, including Spain and Portugal, will be coupled at a later date, according to APX.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Morison in London at rmorison@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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