General

LIBERALISED MARKET

UP

Which is the body in charge of advising consumers when signing an electricity supply contract?

The ERSE (Portuguese Energy Services Regulatory Authority) is a public body with administrative and financial autonomy and its own assets. Entrusted with the purpose of regulating the natural gas and electricity sectors.

UP

Where can I obtain additional information on the total liberalisation of energy markets?

You will find all of the applicable legislation and regulations on the ERSE (Portuguese Energy Services Regulatory Authority) website, http://www.erse.pt/vpt/entrada/electricidade/regulamentos (*).

(*) Português version

UP

What are the obligations of the seller?

The Seller sells energy in a Free Market and competitive environment to customers that have chosen to transfer to the liberalised market.

UP

What are the obligations of the distributor?

The Distributor should guarantee the functioning of the supply to the end customer. They are responsible for the technical part and for maintenance on the electricity supply. The regulator has defined the Distributor's obligations as being:

  • Guaranteeing quality of supply in the electricity supply.
  • Reading meters.
  • Inspecting and guaranteeing the quality of distribution facilities including measurement equipment and performing any experiments that may be necessary before connecting new users or making changes to the connections of pre-existing users.
  • Ensuring a permanent service for customer support and troubleshooting for any exceptions that may arise.

UP

What activities exist in the electricity sector?

In the electricity sector, the activities of the production, transportation, distribution and marketing of electricity are authorised. They consist of the following:

Electricity production: the majority of the electricity consumed in Portugal is produced at power plants - thermal, hydroelectric or based on renewable sources. The remainder is imported via interconnections with the European grid.

Electricity transportation: the National Electricity Transportation Grid ensures that the electricity produced at the power plants connected to the grid is diverted to the distribution grids. The transportation grid is interconnected to the Spanish grid at several points.

Electricity distribution: the distribution grids make it possible to divert the electricity received from the transportation grid via the substations and send the electricity to the facilities where it is to be used. They consist of High Voltage (60 kV), Medium Voltage (30, 15 and 10 kV) and Low Voltage (400/230 V) overhead lines and underground cables, as well as other smaller networks.

Marketing of electricity: this means the purchase and sale of electricity, with a view to supplying consumers.

UP

What activities exist in the natural gas sector?

The natural gas sector includes the activities of acquisition/ importation; receipt, storage and regasification of LNG; underground storage, transportation, distribution and marketing of natural gas. These activities consist of the following:

Acquisition/ importation of natural gas; natural gas is acquired/ imported from abroad under long-term contracts entered into with the National Natural Gas System (SNGN) seller. Natural gas also arrives in Portugal in liquefied form (LNG), on gas tankers.

Receipt, storage and regasification of LNG: LNG is received at port terminals and taken in tanker lorries to an Independent Gas Unit (Portuguese acronym: UAG) where it is stored and regasified and subsequently injected into an independent natural gas distribution network.

Underground storage of natural gas: this consists of receipt, compression and storage underground, depressurisation and drying of the gas for subsequent delivery to the transportation grid.

Transportation of natural gas: this consists of the operation, maintenance and development of a network of high pressure gas pipes and their interconnections with other grids. LNG is transported in tanker lorries to an Independent Gas Unit (Portuguese acronym: UAG).

Distribution of natural gas: this consists of the operation, maintenance and development of regional or local networks of gas pipes to supply consumers in a particular geographical area and their interconnections with other grids.

Marketing of natural gas: this means the purchase and sale of natural gas, with a view to supplying consumers or reselling to other agents on the market.

UP

Who are the agents in the electricity sector?

Sellers: bodies that hold a marketing or registration license and which buy and sell electricity.

Seller Switch Logistic Operator: the body in charge of managing the process of switching seller, and also of managing the meter equipment and respective readings, be they local or remote.

Distribution grid operators: the bodies that have been awarded concessions by the National Distribution Grid (Portuguese acronym: RND) or LV grids, which carry out the activity of distributing electricity.

Transport grid operator: the body that has been awarded a concession from the National Transportation Grid (Portuguese acronym: RNT). As well as transporting electricity, it performs the role of Global System Management.

Commercial Agent: a body in charge of buying and selling all of the electricity from long-term electricity purchase contracts entered into with the ordinary scheme producers.

Ordinary scheme producers: bodies in possession of a license to produce electricity, whose activity is not covered by a special legal regime, with incentives for the use of endogenous and renewable resources or for the combined production of heat and electricity (co-generation).

Special scheme producers: bodies in possession of a license to produce electricity, which are governed by specific legal regimes, as regards adopting policies intended to provide incentives for the production of electricity via renewable resources or combined heat and electricity production technologies (co-generation).

Market operators: bodies in charge of managing organised markets, in the daily, intra-daily and forward modalities.

UP

Who are the agents in the natural gas sector?

Sellers: bodies that hold a marketing or registration license, which buy and sell natural gas.

SNGN Seller: the body that holds the long term and "take or pay" contracts, and is in charge of the highest percentage in the acquisition/ importation of natural gas.

Seller Switch Logistic Operator: the body in charge of managing the process of switching seller, and also of managing the meter equipment and respective readings, be they local or remote.

Operators of terminals where LNG is received, stored and regasified: bodies that have been awarded a concession for the respective terminal and which are responsible for ensuring operation and maintenance thereof, as well as for ensuring that its storage and regasification capacity is safe, reliable and that it allows for a high quality service.

Underground storage operators: bodies that have been awarded a concession for the respective storage and which are in charge of operation and maintenance of storage capacity and the over-ground facilities under conditions of safety, reliability and high quality service.

Transportation grid operator: the body awarded a concession from the National Natural Gas Transportation Grid (Portuguese acronym: RNTGN), which is in charge of the operation, maintenance and development of the transportation grid under conditions of safety, reliability and high quality service, as well as of its interconnections with other grids. This is also the body that is responsible for Global Technical Management of the SNGN.

Distribution grid operators: bodies that have been awarded concessions or which are in charge of distribution in the public service of the National Natural Gas Distribution Grid (Portuguese acronym: RNDGN). They are in charge of the operation, maintenance and development of the distribution grid under conditions of safety, reliability and high quality service, in a specific geographical area.

Organised market operators: bodies that are authorised to carry out the activity of managing the organised markets where natural gas is traded (both daily and forward).

UP

What are Renewable Energies?

Renewable energies come from energy sources that may be considered to be inexhaustible or whose energy potential may be renewed. Some examples are wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wave, tidal or biomass energies.

UP

What is micro-generation?

Micro-generation is the activity of producing low voltage electricity for one's own consumption, with the possibility of supplying energy to the public electricity grid.

UP

What is co-generation?

Co-generation is the joint production of electricity and thermal energy (heat), according to the rules laid down in the specific legislation.

UP

ENERGY LABELLING

UP

What is electrical labelling?

Electrical labelling consists of information that is provided to consumers regarding the origin and environmental impact of the electricity that they purchase. This information is provided by IBERDROLA to its customers. It specifically includes the following:

  • The percentage of each primary energy source used to produce the electricity purchased by IBERDROLA.
  • The CO2 emissions that correspond to the amount of electricity consumed and billed.

UP

QUALITY OF SERVICE

UP

What does the right to quality of service consist of?

The regulations on quality of service specify minimum quality standards from the technical and commercial perspectives to be met by the service provided by grid operators and electricity and natural gas sellers.

The supply of electricity and natural gas should be continuous. Interruption may occur in the following cases: unforeseen circumstances or force majeure, public interest reasons, service reasons, safety reasons, through the customer's fault, or by arrangement with the customer.

UP

To whom should I submit my complaint regarding the quality of technical service?

Complaints regarding the quality of technical service should be submitted to IBERDROLA, which should forward them to the Distribution Grid Operator.

UP

Is there are definition of 'vulnerable consumer' in Portugal? What are the criteria that I need to meet in order to be considered a disadvantaged (vulnerable) consumer?

These customers with special needs are people (or people that live with people in this category) with disabilities in terms of sight, hearing, oral communication or sense of smell when they are unable to detect the smell of natural gas, are unable to move without a wheelchair. It also includes people whose lives are dependent on equipment that requires electricity in order to function.

UP