Thursday, 8 February 2018

German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on Stricter Duties For Suppliers of Last Resort - Case Comment BGH VIII ZR 148/17

The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH)  recently ruled on the responsibilities of electricity companies that are acting as `suppliers of last resort´ towards German electricity customers. Until now their responsibilities stopped at the meter in the house of customers. This is about to change in certain cases. The judgement can have repercussions for the appraisal of supplier of last resort-duties in other European jurisdictions.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Dutch Court Landmark Decision On Compensation Of Victims Of Gas-Extraction Induced Earthquakes

By Joris Gazendam, LLM, PhD Researcher University of Groningen

On 23 January 2018 the Court of Appeal Arnhem-Leeuwarden ruled in a case between claimants living in the province of Groningen and the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (hereinafter: NAM). The case revolved around damages as a result of earthquakes which are caused by the extraction of natural gas in the province of Groningen. The main legal question was whether the owners of houses can claim compensation for the devaluation of their houses even if they do not sell their (whether or not physically damaged) houses. Normally, the financial loss for the owner of a house becomes visible on the moment of sale. In this case the owners explicitly wanted to be compensated even if they would not sell their house. The Court of Appeal ruled that an owner of a house can only once claim compensation for damages. Parties are free to decide on a reference date on which the depreciation is to be determined. On this date a real estate expert has to establish how much the house has decreased in value due to the earthquakes. On the reference date the potential future devaluation of the house, due to future earthquakes, is to be incorporated in the sum of the damages.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Oil Stocks Stand-Off: European Commission is taking Romania to Court

The European Commission announced last thursday (25 January 2018) that it is initiating an infringement procedure against Romania in front of the Court of Justice. The Commission alleges that Romania failed to correctly implement and apply the Oil Stocks Directive (Council Directive 2009/119/EU). The current Romanian legislation prohibits the use of oil stocks as collaterals, i.e. assets offered to secure a loan. This prohibition could make it more difficult for economic operators to fulfil their obligation to hold stocks. According to the Commission, Romania has also incorrectly implemented the rules concerning the right of economic operators to delegate their obligation to hold stocks and the establishment of emergency procedures in the event of a major supply disruption. Romania says it already amended its laws, but needs more time.

Monday, 15 January 2018

A New Government For Germany – Preliminary Energy and Climate Plans Published

In September 2017 Germany held general elections, but there still is no new government yet. After talks between the Conservatives (CDU/CSU), the Liberals (FDP) and the Greens broke down last year, Angela Merkel is trying to form a governmental `grand coalition´ between CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats (SPD). Both parties recently ended exploratory negotiations and issued a joint statement on 12 January 2018 that gives a first indication of Germany´s policy plans for the next 4 years. Although the paper is not yet a full-fledged coalition agreement, it nonetheless details the main policy lines that the possible new German government is intending to follow. So what does it have to say on energy and the climate ?

Thursday, 14 December 2017

New Book `European Energy Law Report XI´ Out Now

Building on the presentations held at the annual European Energy Law Seminar taking place every January in The Hague (NL), this book reviews central energy law issues from a national, EU and international perspective.  It has been an honour for me to contribute a chapter on ´Shale Gas and the EU´ (chapter XIV). The book is available from Intersentia here. The Table of Contents can be found here.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Results of ENTSOG`s `Gas Stress Test` Published

In 2017 the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) conducted a `stress test` (security of supply simulation) for the European gas network and recently published a report on the results. This Union-Wide Security of Supply Simulation Report 2017 found that particularly South-East European countries (namely Romania and Bulgaria) as well as Finland could run into severe issues in case of disruption of gas supplies to Europe.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

29th European Energy Law Seminar

The Dutch Energy Law Association announced that the upcoming 29th round of the European Energy Law Seminar will take place on 22 and 23 January 2018 in Hampshire Hotel Babylon in The Hague (Netherlands). The finalized programme and all further details will be available asap at the Association`s  website www.never.nl. Registration will be possible via that website. Financial support for European PhD or Master students is available to enable participation in this high-profile seminar.