History of liberalisation
Regional monopolies existed in the German energy industry until 1998. Vertically integrated utilities had a legally recognised monopoly in their service area. There was substantive supervision and price controls, backed up by controls of anti-competitive practices by the cartel office.
The first moves to liberalise the energy market were made at European level. In the 1980s, the European Commission developed a legislative strategy for creating a European single energy market. The EU directives for the internal markets in electricity and gas built on this strategy and aimed chiefly at creating competition-oriented markets.
The EU Directive on the internal market in electricity was transposed into national legislation with the amended Energy Act 1998. The aim of the Act has been to open the market for networked energy. The regional monopolies set up by the state were thus abolished. A reorganisation of the energy statutes brought about the transposition, in 2003, of the EU directive on the internal market in natural gas.
That same year, it was decided to issue new directives to achieve the single energy market.
The aim of these acceleration directives, as the name says, was to give a further push to energy liberalisation and the creation of uniform conditions for competition in the internal electricity and natural gas markets. Other than their predecessors, the acceleration directives no longer allow Member States to choose between negotiated or regulated network access. On the contrary, regulated network access was laid down as the only route by which European law was to be transposed.
The amended Energy Act of 7 July 2005 transposes the European directives on the internal markets in electricity and natural gas into national legislation.