The European entity for the cooperation of electricity distribution system operators (DSOs) in the European Union – the so-called “EU DSO Entity” – began its journey today, 8 June, when the first General Assembly of its members was held.

The Entity, which was set up after the proposal of the European Commission, is a recognition of the fundamental role that electricity distribution networks play in the energy transition process, which involves the transformation towards a decentralised system, in which the distributor becomes more relevant. In this transition process, there are many challenges facing distribution grid operators: high penetration of renewable generation (more than 70% of which is connected to distribution grids in Europe), increased electricity demand, greater penetration of electric vehicles whose charging infrastructure is largely connected to distribution grids, and active consumers who produce to cover their own consumption – becoming “prosumers” – and who can offer flexibility to grids by making use of demand management and aggregation services.

While the proposal to bring European electricity distributors together in a legally base body that could be given the mandate to draft network codes with implications for the operation of distribution networks, such a concept was not without skepticism from many, including the distributors themselves.

This is given the diversity of more than 2,500 electricity distributors in Europe supplying electricity to 260 million customers. Not only is their number complex to manage in a single entity, but their diversity in the activities they undertake, in their structures and ownership, and in their size: of the total number of European distributors mentioned, just under 200 have more than 100,000 connected customers.

It has not been an easy task, but it has been achieved in an exemplary and unanimous manner, ensuring that this great diversity is represented in a fair and balanced way in the statutes that will govern the Entity, and which have the favorable opinion of the European Commission and the Agency of European Energy Regulators, ACER. The almost 900 electricity distributors registered as of today in the Entity, have approved today, June 8th, their statutes and their first Board of Directors, formed by 27 Directors. This includes five representatives of GEODE member distributors from Sweden, Finland, and Spain in the categories of companies with less than 100,000 customers, and DSOs with more than 100,000 and less than 1 million.

More than two years of work and numerous meetings are now behind us – many of them face-to-face, marathon meetings, coffee before and after the pandemic, which were so useful for ironing out differences, and no fewer virtual meetings since we were dealing with the pandemic. Throughout this time, the four associations representing electricity
distributors in Europe – CEDEC, E.DSO for Smart Grids, Eurelectric and GEODE (an association I have had the honor of representing in my capacity as Secretary General) – together with electricity distribution companies from these associations and the European Commission, have worked with consensus as our guiding principle – and I would be lying if I said it was always easy – to make possible the birth of this Entity, which proudly begins its journey today.

Good luck, “EU DSO Entity“!

Carmen Gimeno