European Interest

New EU measures to prevent electricity blackouts

Flickr/Atli Harðarson/CC BY-ND 2.0

EU citizens will be better protected against sudden electricity supply shortages under a provisional deal reached between MEPs and EU Member States on Thursday.

“This agreement ensures that if an electricity crisis affects a member state it will be promptly resolved in cooperation with its neighbours and the Regional Coordination Centres. It establishes the solidarity principle as the real backbone of risk management, so that in the future no one will be left alone in coping with the cold spell and with sudden interruptions to electricity,” said after the deal was reached, rapporteur Flavio Zanonato (S&D, IT).

The purpose of this legislation is to improve the identification of possible crises and the risk-preparedness of the electricity sector across the EU. Currently, varying national rules and a lack of cross-border cooperation by national authorities endangers energy security in times of shortages.

National risk-preparedness plans become obligatory

Currently there is no common approach to risk identification and assessment. According to the provisional deal, member states will be obliged to draft national risk-preparedness plans, based on a common template as requested by Parliament.

These plans should include measures to prevent simultaneous shortages in a region and ensure regional crisis management. It will also become obligatory for EU countries to alert the Commission and neighbouring member states when they have an electricity crisis.

Member states must adopt them within 2.5 years after entry into force of the Regulation.


A member state receiving assistance should ultimately bear all reasonable costs associated with the assistance by other member states. However, as requested by Parliament, member states should agree on a fair compensation before providing assistance.

The Commission will draft non-binding guidance for determining fair compensation and other key elements of the technical, legal and financial arrangements.

The proposed regulation on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector is part of the legislative package entitled ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans,’ proposed by the Commission on 30 November 2016. The package includes four legislative proposals for the electricity market. Interinstitutional negotiations are still ongoing on the three other files.

The deal will now be put to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee and plenary for approval as well as the Council. The Regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal.

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