Background notes

The transparency of its actions is important to the Bundesnetzagentur. We operate under a public service mandate and in the public interest through regulation of the operators of energy supply networks. That is why we are providing extensive information on our website on the Bundesnetzagentur‘s foundations, procedures and decisions.

The result of Ruling Chamber 8 procedures regulating the costs of the electricity network operators is so-called revenue caps and efficiency levels. Revenue caps and efficiency levels are determined every five years, and can be viewed both in individual decisions in the Decisions database or on a central list for the undertakings under the responsibility of the Bundesnetzagentur, the regulatory authority being required under section 31 of the Incentive Regulation Ordinance (ARegV) to publish these revenue caps and efficiency levels.

Network operator data whose publication is required under section 31 ARegV can be found here.
A wide range of information on the energy sector – also on developments and retail prices – is published annually in the Monitoring Report drawn up jointly by the Bundesnetzagentur and the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office).

Monitoring Reports

The Monitoring Reports are available here: Monitoring Report 2021

Notes on the redaction of decisions for publication

The Bundesnetzagentur is bound by law, under section 74 of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG), to publish its decisions. Regularly published are the operative part and the explanatory statement for the decisions. These are stored in the Decisions database.

At the same time, the regulatory authority is obliged to preserve the legitimate interest of the regulated undertakings and those to whom the decisions are addressed in having their personal data and their trade and business secrets protected. The extensive information required from the regulated undertakings under, most notably, section 69 EnWG cannot be moulded into a one size fits all public information requirement. This follows from section 71 EnWG and section 30 of the Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG).

To protect their company or operational secrets in accordance with section 71 EnWG and section 30 VwVfG those to whom the decisions are addressed have the possibility of redacting (blacking out) parts of the decisions. Doing so may, however, lead to a time lag between the time the decision is taken and the time it is published in the Decisions database.

Following the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) of 11 December 2018 (EnVR 21/18) on section 31 ARegV the Chamber will, until further notice, proceed as follows in respect of decisions falling under its remit.

1. Determining the revenue caps for the third regulatory period

The Chamber will, as a general rule, accept the redactions submitted by the network operators with publication in mind, provided the redactions are in conformity with the following specific notes and the general notes set out in no 7.

To be published along with the decision are - in line with the BGH judgment - the revenue cap for the particular calendar year and the individual efficiency level.

Other cost information in the decisions stating euro (€) amounts will be accepted when redacted for the time being. Those to whom the decisions are addressed are, of course, free to leave their own information on the area referenced by the BGH unredacted in the interests of transparency on the energy transition. Thus the redactions in the published decisions sometimes differ.

As a rule text designations in themselves, in tables as well, do not constitute company or operational secrets. The contents of a table must always remain clear, even if protection of trade and business secrets is claimed for the amounts.

The Chamber recognises the existence of company or operational secrets for all items explicitly ruled on by the BGH in its judgment EnVR 21/18. In other respects the publication of further redactions follows a pragmatic approach, without a final examination of confidentiality. For instance, individual values included accordingly in the financial statements for the separate activities referred to in section 6b EnWG constitute public information. A closer examination on demand in an individual case thus remains possible.

In the case of excessive redaction the Chamber reserves the right to review, at any time, the versions submitted by the network operators and to seek to have the number of redactions reduced, or to do so itself. In the latter case the undertaking concerned is given the opportunity prior to publication to take note of the changes with a suitable period in which to examine remedies.

2. Expansion factor according to section 10 ARegV (until the end of the second regulatory period)

The parameter levels applied and the annual adjustment amounts for the expansion factor are the subject-matter of BGH judgment EnVR 21/18.

A redacted version submitted by the network operator is published as a general rule.

3. (Uncontested) network transfers according to section 26(2) ARegV

The Chamber will publish decisions according to section 26(2) ARegV using the template shown on its web pages.

The redaction template can be found here: Musterschwärzung für Beschlüsse gemäß § 26 Abs. 2 ARegV (pdf / 53 KB)

The attention of the network operators concerned will be drawn to the redaction template each time a decision is transmitted. Should the network operators not agree to publication based on the template, they will be given the opportunity, within a suitable period of time, to state their position and submit a differently redacted version. The general notes on permitted redactions apply accordingly in this case. Network operators agreeing to publication based on the template are not required to submit a redacted version along with their reasons for the redactions.

As far as figures of "0" are not blacked out in the template by way of example, this means that the Chamber will not redact figures of "0" that have no informative value in themselves. Such a figure has no informative value in itself when it is not the subject of the specific transfer of part of the network and hence not the subject matter of the Chamber decision.

4. Approval of the capex mark-up according to section 10a ARegV for 2019

The capex mark-up is already incorporated in BGH judgment EnVR 21/18 in the sum total. A redacted version submitted by the network operator is published as a general rule.

5. Quality element according to sections 18ff ARegV

Indicators of quality of supply are to continue to be published even after BGH judgment EnVR 21/18.
As a general rule the Chamber will accept the further redactions submitted for publication purposes. All network operators must, however, observe the general notes set out below.

6. Other decisions

The principles set out here also apply to other Chamber decisions, eg to abuse proceedings according to sections 30 and 31 EnWG, to decisions on matters of reserve power plant capacity according to sections 13b ff EnWG and to general determinations according to section 29 EnWG. In all such proceedings the assessment of sensitive information has to be made on a case by case basis.

7. General notes

When a redacted version of a Ruling Chamber 8 decision is submitted in observance of these notes a further, detailed justification of redactions will not initially be necessary. However, if text passages from the decisions (see note 1) are redacted, a full, detailed statement must be provided for each such passage setting out why it is believed to contain company or operational secrets and where a competitive disadvantage might lie. Such statements are to be sent by post only, giving the reference number of the redacted decision, to Ruling Chamber 8 at the address below:

Beschlusskammer 8
- Begründung von Schwärzungen -
Tulpenfeld 4
53113 Bonn

The reasons for the redactions should be given in tabular form. A template for this can be found here.

So that the transparency of its decisions and the protection of sensitive data are taken into proper account in the publication process the Bundesnetzagentur has provided an updated version of its Redaction Guide.

The most recent version of the Redaction Guide must always be followed by the network operators when redacting and giving reasons for their redactions.

Finally, we would like to state explicitly that this temporary practice in no way implies recognition of the versions redacted by the network operators in respect of each individual item. Should there be a need for more information in a particular case or should an application have been submitted under the Freedom of Information Act (IFG), the Chamber reserves the right to make a renewed examination and assessment of the redactions. A detailed statement of reasons will be required in all such cases.

Download_BK8_Hinweise_Schwärzungen_22-03-2019 (pdf / 274 KB)

Date of modification: 2022.08.12