FAST, FASTER, VIRTIMO – We are paving the way for the digitalization of data collection in the gas market.

The German gas supply is a sensitive and important topic. Even in crisis situations, a regulated and fair gas supply must be guaranteed for vulnerable customer groups, such as household customers. For this purpose, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action [BMWK], the German Federal Network Agency [BNetzA] and Trading Hub Europe [THE] are developing a Security Platform Gas [SiPla]. Virtimo is involved in the security platform as a project partner: We deliver fast and custom-fit solutions to digitize the procedures of data retrieval and thus lay the foundation for SiPla. 

The background to the project is the European Union’s efforts to ensure a regulated gas supply in shortage situations through bilateral solidarity agreements between neighbouring countries. Before these treaties take effect, countries must optimize their own gas resources through contingency plans. Until now, gas distribution on the German market was calculated by a manual query, triggered by the BNetzA. Final consumers with a gas consumption of 10 MW or more ‒ i.e. large gas consumers in the economy ‒ must participate in this data collection on a mandatory basis. The last query was carried out in 2017 by the BNetzA and all end consumers had to send their master data manually to the BNetzA via an Excel spreadsheet. In order to simplify and accelerate this process, THE is developing a concept for a digitalized solution for data retrieval. Virtimo supports THE as a project partner in the creation of this digital security platform. 

As an expert in the digital transformation of business processes Virtimo was able to digitize the manual processes of the master data query within two weeks and thus also astonished the BNetzA. From May 3, 2022, the query of master data of end consumers will be carried out via these digitized processes. SiPla will finally be introduced on October 1, 2022, and end consumers selected by the BNetzA will have to register on the security platform. If an end consumer fails to comply with this mandatory registration, they will be subject to fines.

How does the new Gas SiPla security platform facilitate fair gas distribution in a shortage situation? In such a case, the BNetzA asks all end consumers to digitally store their current master data on the security platform. Based on this data, the gas supply is then redistributed on a solidarity basis and the non-protected end consumers with more than 10 MW of gas consumption must throttle their gas consumption. Non-protected end consumers include those that are not active in the social sector or in the supply of heat to household customers. In return, the end consumers will receive a compensation payment.

In an extreme gas shortage situation, the digitalization of master data query will create the basis for an assessment of gas distribution in the German gas network. Based on this assessment, bottlenecks in certain zones of the German gas network can be closed by reducing the planned gas consumption of affected end consumers. The freed-up gas volumes are then available to vulnerable customer groups for the supply of energy and heat. Only when national emergency measures are insufficient to secure gas supplies to vulnerable end customers do the bilateral solidarity agreements between Germany and its European interconnected countries kick in.