The European Commission has warned that the European Union will not achieve a singe electricity market until problems on transmission pricing and interconnector capacity are resolved, Reuters reports.

The Commission’s director general for energy said it was crucial to ensure that different national arrangements for introducing competition did not create barriers to trade in electricity. Some countries intend to charge companies wheeling power on the distance the power is transmitted. Others will impose a single charge, irrespective of distance.

The Commission wants the electricity supply industry to regulate itself and develop standard, EU-wide tariffs, but if the industry does not proceed voluntarily, the Commission will legislate to create standard market conditions. In December 1996, the EU agreed to open 25 per cent of the electricity market to competition by February 1999, and to extend this to 33 per cent by 2007. Several states have gone further but five, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Belgium have not yet decided whether to proceed beyond the legal minimum. The market is estimated to be worth $300 billion.