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To perform an activity on the French electricity market (generate, consume, sell, purchase, import, export…), you must designate a balance responsible party or become a balance responsible party.

On any electric system, power generated must be maintained in constant equilibrium with power consumed. In France, the regulation places the following responsibilities on stakeholders:

  • Until real time (start of the half-hourly interval of delivery*), balance responsible parties must ensure adequacy between injections and extractions within their balance perimeter. Any imbalances detected after reading data from the network (metering data) are subsequently invoiced.
  • RTE is responsible for the physical equilibrium of the network. For this reason, if all the balance responsible parties are in overall imbalance, RTE calls on balancing capacities (balancing operations or frequency ancillary services) to resolve this. Balancing costs are borne by balance responsible parties in imbalance.

A balance responsible party is therefore a key market participant responsible for settling imbalances between injections and withdrawals detected subsequently in its balance perimeter.

* What is real time?

A balance responsible party may amend the injection and extraction volumes of its perimeter up to 1 second before the half-hourly interval of delivery, via the block exchange system. For example, for a delivery of energy on the half-hourly interval 15:30-16:00, balance responsible parties can declare their block exchange schedules up to 15:29min59sec.

The reconstitution of flows: how are balance responsible parties’ imbalances calculated?

Each balance responsible party must declare to RTE and, where appropriate, to distribution system operators, the elements of injection and withdrawal that comprise its balance perimeter.

These elements may be:

  • transactional (block exchanges, import/export transactions, purchase/sale on markets…),
  • or physical (generation/consumption sites).

The calculation of imbalances is based on a process of reconstitution of flows (injection and extraction): it involves sharing data from the public transmission system to the public distribution system. This process is carried out by RTE and distribution system operators. It is based on:

  • data from meters,
  • declared schedules sent by the market participants.

Every month and for each imbalance settlement period (today every half hour), RTE calculates the balance responsible parties’ imbalances and invoices them the imbalance settlement price.

Contracting with RTE

To become a balance responsible party, you must comply with the MA-RE Terms and Conditions established in consultation with the market participants and approved by the French Energy Regulatory Commission, by signing a participation agreement as balance responsible party.

To do this, you must:

1. Fill in the online form application to become a balance responsible party. This form is also available in the MA-RE Terms and Conditions (annex C1),

2. Fill in the questionnaire designed to verify the applicant’s suitability (annex C2 of the terms and conditions),

3. Send the documents and information listed in annex C1 of the Terms and Conditions,

4. Send the information contained in the following document: elements required to fulfil the participation agreement,

5. If applicable, sign a contract with the distribution system operator on which you have generation or consumption assets (list of DSOs),

6. Declare the elements making up your balance perimeter using annex C7 of the MA-RE Terms and Conditions.

Your services as a balance responsible party

RTE offers a set of services for balance responsible parties to optimise the management of their balance perimeters, including:

To access these services, you may need to create an account and/or hold a PKI certificate.

Costs related to balance responsibility

In addition to imbalance invoices calculated each month, balance responsible parties are charged for management fees related to their portfolio of activity:

  • 77€/month per transaction (interconnections and grid losses),
  • 7.5€/ validated block exchange schedule per counterparty and per direction for a day D.

Finally, the volume of physical consumption of each balance responsible party is subject to a monthly payment to RTE, a function of factor "c".  This purpose of this factor is to cover the costs borne by RTE according to the procedures laid down in article L. 321-12 of the French Energy Code.

Since 1 February 2017, factor "c" is equal to 0, therefore the price applied is 0 €/MWh.

Reference documentation

For any questions, please contact marketservices@rte-france.com.

Additionnal information

The block exchange service.