Nord Pool, the operator of the Nordic electricity exchange, has justified its decision to charge for the viewing of historical price data on the grounds of rising costs the company has incurred due to the database's growth. Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut (SDE) has criticized the decision.
"Historical data on hourly prices has been moved to our (paid - ed.) data portal, primarily to (enable us to) cover the costs of maintaining the database, which grows constantly over time, as well as to maintain the quality of the data," Ingrid Arus, Nord Pool's market manager for the Baltic region, told ERR.
Arus explained, that until now, the cost of managing the data management was covered by fees from Nord Pool members.
"In a situation where there has been a sharp increase in interest in electricity market data from outside our membership, it was no longer appropriate to provide free access to that data for everyone on an equal basis," Arus said.
According to Arus, Nord Pool's webpage will continue to show hourly prices for the day-ahead market, going back to the start of 2021. However, older price data has now been moved to the site, and can only be viewed through Nord Pool's data portal, where historical data has been visible since 2012. Access to historical price data became a payable service from June 7, costing €600 per year for up to three users.
"It is important to point out, that historical data on hourly prices is also published on the ENTSO-E Transparency Platform, where you can see data for the whole of the European Union, and, usually, on the website of (national) system operators, (which) in the Estonian context (is) Elering," said Arus.
Arus was also keen to add, that the range of data that can be viewed and downloaded for a fee "is extremely wide."
"In particular, there has been a lot of interest in this service from portals and news agencies, that use our data to offer services to their customers. As well as private companies providing electricity market analyses, or other electricity market related services to their customers," Arus said. "In general, private customers do not use our data services, as information about prices is publicly available elsewhere."
According to a Nord Pool spokesperson, the company has made exceptions to the charges for public authorities, which need the data to fulfill their responsibilities. Thus, the statistical office (Statistics Estonia) has access to the entire database free of charge, with Nord Pool members also able to view the data without paying an additional fee.
Sikkut: "tax wall" not in the interest of electricity consumers
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Riina Sikkut, has condemned Nord Pool's move to restrict the availability of free access to its historical data.
"In the current situation, I see a need to increase Nord Pool's transparency so that the interests of our consumers are better protected. It is difficult to see how the decision to put historical market data behind a so-called "tax wall" would serve these interests in any way," Sikkut told ERR via a spokesperson.
Sikkut said, that in her view, the system of price setting on the Nord Pool electricity exchange should also be reviewed, in addition to the levels of transparency of market transactions. "Both the origin and the volume of bids could be made public, for instance" she said.
Sikkut also announced that she would make a formal proposal to the European Commission and Nord Pool on the need to increase market transparency and improve monitoring procedures.
Estonia has no stake in Nord Pool
According to Sikkut, Estonia has no stake in the Nord Pool electricity market. However, in 2012, when Estonia opened up its electricity market and integrated its electricity system with the Nordic countries, Elering did acquire a 2 percent share in Nord Pool.
At the time, this provided an opportunity for Elering to obtain information about the functioning of the Nordic common market directly from the source. TSO's from the Baltic countries held one seat on the Nord Pool board, a position which they rotated amongst themselves.
Electricity market processes subsequently became subject to EU law and the market was opened up to competition between different electricity exchanges, with system operators playing no role in the organization of power exchanges as a result.
Neither electricity exchanges, nor their owners, have the ability to control the day-ahead or intraday markets, as doing so would require changes to be made at EU level.
According to the spokesperson from the ministry of economic affairs, Elering sold its share in Nord Pool in 2021, to ensure neutrality. As Elering is one of several electricity exchange owners operating in Estonia, remaining on Nord Pool's board would be deemed to provide an unfair market advantage.
Editor: Michael Cole