Proposal for a Royal Decree on access and connection to the transmission and distribution networks

Written on 23 Jul 2018

The proposal establishes a procedure for obtaining access and connection permits, reducing deadlines and simplifying requirements. It also introduces a procedure for its renewal.

In accordance with the mandate of article 33 of law 24/2013 of 26 December, a new regulatory framework is proposed to regulate the procedure for granting access and connection to transport and distribution networks, adapting it to the current scenario, and in line with the Community mandates for liberalization and openness to third parties of the electricity grid.

That is why the Royal Decree proposal focuses on defining the regulation of the Single Interlocutor Position (“SIP“), the new access and connection procedures for new applications (introducing an abbreviated procedure), modifications to the existing ones, reduction of the time periods for resolving access and connection conflicts and some considerations on self-consumption and the expiry of the permits.

Once the deadline for submitting allegations has expired, it is currently awaiting the report of the National Commission on Markets and Competition, in accordance with article 7 of Law 3/2013, of 4 June.

The Single Interlocutor Position (SIP)

It is proposed that all requests for access and connection that are connected to networks with a voltage of more than 36 kV will be processed through the SIP. A new feature is the inclusion of medium-voltage distribution networks.

The proposal states that the SIP should be designated by the owner of the networks to which it is connected and not by the Autonomous Communities as it has been happening. It is established that there will be an SIP for each position of a knot, and there may be one for several positions.

The SIP will seek to adopt agreements between applicants to reach the maximum capacity of the positions and will represent the other applicants in the processing of access and connection permits to a position. The SIP will manage applications on a temporal priority basis, i.e. by date of admission of the application. And if, within a maximum of 7 days after receiving a request for access and connection, you do not transfer it to the network owner, an access conflict may arise against you.

New regulation of access and connection procedures

If the Royal Decree in the proposed terms is approved, new requests for access and connection will be processed in a single procedure before the so-called “single point of contact”, which will be the holder of the network from which access and connection is requested. A procedure that is divided into the following phases:

  • Submission of the application. Request for rectification: 15-day period. As a novelty, it is foreseen that if the system operator does not require the request to be rectified within this period, it will be deemed to have been accepted as a positive silence. It is proposed to grant a period of 15 days for the correction.
  • Admission or non-admission (within 15 days): only the sufficiency of the documentation provided is assessed. Inadmissibility implies the return of the connection guarantee.
  • Beginning of the evaluation phase of the access capacity by Network owner and request for a report on the Network’s impact. Both for upstream transport and distribution.
  • Issuance of the report on the transmission and distribution network (maximum period of 1 month)
  • Issuance of proposed connection point, technical specifications and economic specifications or, where appropriate, refusal of the request for access and connection. The maximum emission periods of this proposal vary according to the voltage to which they are connected (10 days less than 1 kV; 30 days up to 36 kV; 40 days more than 30 kV; and 60 transport days).
  • The applicant will accept the previous proposal and the specifications, or if applicable, will request a revision. The period for this depends on the voltage to which they are connected (10 days less than 1 kV, 15 days up to 36 kV, 20 days more than 30 kV, 30 days of transport), in the event of failure to comply with this period, the request for access and connection will be rejected. In the event of a review, the manager shall respond within half of the deadline indicated in the previous point.
  • Within a maximum period of 15 days from the acceptance of the connection proposal, the holder of the network shall issue the access and connection permit or deny it.
  • Denial of access may only be based on lack of capacity: (i) technical impossibility (lack of capacity, failure to comply with connection requirements or failure to comply with technical and economic conditions), (ii) security of persons, (iii) lack of installation on the network where connection is requested or not covered by the current planning, (iv) lack of adequate physical space to house the installations.
  • The holders of access and connection permits must provide to the network operator with a financial guarantee (at least 25 % of the investment) to ensure the construction and connection with the T&D installations to be covered. The terms vary according to the voltage (6 months under voltage to 36 kV, 12 months between 36 kV and 220 kV, 18 months between 220 and 380 kV and 24 months over 380 kV).
  • Technical access contract (“TAC“), both transmission and distribution, are regulated in detail. It shall be signed after the installation has been built, at the latest within 30 days after the producer requests the network operator to sign the TAC. A mandatory standardised model for Stranded Costs is envisaged for installations above 100 kW, although it can be modified by agreement between the parties.

Likewise, a shortened procedure is contemplated for obtaining these accesses and connection permits for producers with a maximum installed power of 15 KW, with simplified information requirements and reduced times by half for both parties.

Expiration and transient regime

As far as expiration is concerned, it is proposed that access and connection permits expire at the age of five years after obtaining them for installations which did not have authorization to operate in that period. Or, if being already built and in service, cease in the discharge of energy to the net for a period of more than three years for causes attributable to the holder other than the temporary closing. However, if the authorization for exploitation has not been obtained in those five years referred to, it is anticipated that the access and connection permits may be renewed for 5 additional years (only an extension) provided that there is further connection guarantee for €30/kWh.

As a transitory provision, it is envisaged that the access and connection permits requested before the entry into force of the RD and granted after the LSE, will expire at 5 years if the authorization of exploitation has not been obtained. And it is envisaged the renewal of the permits granted before the entry into force of the LSE, which must be requested in the three months following the entry into force of the RD accompanied by the acceptance of the technical and economic conditions and the guarantees (see paragraph 8 of the explanation of the procedure).

Other relevant provisions

In the case of possible conflicts of access or connection, the proposal does not vary in terms of competence, but if the maximum deadlines for resolution are reduced, with access disputes being a maximum period of 2 months, Expandable other two, and for connection conflicts 1 month.

Regarding self-consumption, it is established that installations with antidumping devices are exempt from access and connection procedures.