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NMa: Dutch regional network operators Obragas and Netbeheer Haarlemmermeer need to straighten out the quality procedures of their gas networks

According to research of the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa), Dutch regional network operators Obragas Net N.V. (Obragas) and B.V. Netbeheer Haarlemmermeer (Net-H) do not have all of the legally required procedures in order to be able to guarantee their natural-gas networks' quality and capacity. The NMa has therefore imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments on them. Obragas and Net-H are ordered to have their quality management systems straightened out by January 15th, 2010, under penalty of a penalty payment of €25,000 per week, with a maximum penalty of €250,000.

In 2008/2009, the NMa reviewed the so-called 'Quality and Capacity Documents' (KCDs) of the network operators for the second time. Using these KCDs, network operators need to demonstrate that they have sufficient capacity to transport electricity and natural gas from their sources (the supplier) to businesses or households. In addition, the network's quality needs to be safeguarded. The mandatory risk analysis, which is used to pre-detect possible threats to the network's quality, that Obragas and Net-H have included in their KCDs failed to meet the requirements that the NMa had set for it. Also missing are the correct procedures to monitor the quality of the pipelines and power cables. The NMa has therefore concluded that the quality management systems contain several flaws.

In September 2009, another Dutch network operator, NRE, was also imposed an order by the NMa for similar violations. In addition, there are currently other legal proceedings pending against several other network operators. The NMa is expected to announce by the end of this year whether, and if so what measures it will take against these other network operators.