Network codes are a set of rules drafted by ENTSO-E, with guidance from the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) , to facilitate the harmonisation, integration and efficiency of the European electricity market. Each network code is an integral part of the drive towards completion of the internal energy market, and achieving the European Union’s 20-20-20 energy objectives of:
Representing European electricity transmission system operators, ENTSO-E was mandated by the European Commission (EC) to draft these rules for electricity, with sister association ENTSOG drafting the rules for gas. Under development since 2011, each code takes approximately 18 months to complete. Following ACER’s recommendation, each code is submitted to the European Commission for approval through the Comitology process, to then be voted into EU law and implemented across Member States.
For technical legal reasons, it was decided in May 2014 that the regulation on capacity allocation and congestion management (CACM), would be labelled “binding guideline” instead of “network codes”. This was decided to reflect the particular structure of this text. Because it draws new concepts, and provides Europe with a significant leap forward towards completing the IEM, CACM will require many steps from the moment it will enter into force until it is fully implemented. These include the elaboration of new tools, geographical zones definitions or new methodologies.
Changing the CACM label from “network code” to binding guideline will not materially change CACM’s content or affect its legal value. Many other codes should maintain their “network code” label.
In the interest of simplification, the term “network codes” refers, in this document, to all the common rules for electricity markets, as defined in Regulation (EC) N°714/2009. These include documents labelled either “network codes” or “binding guidelines”. In contexts where clarity is of utmost importance, we will use “network codes and related guidelines.
The network codes cover three key areas of the European electricity transmission sector:
 Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators