Open access refers to regulatory rules that require owners of essential energy assets such as electric transmission and distribution lines, gas transmission and distribution lines, gas storage facilities, and LNG import or export terminals to provide unbiased access to market participants wishing to utilize the facilities. In some countries the term Third Party Access (TPA) is used to describe a similar concept.
Key aspects of open access rules include:
- Owners of essential facilities must treat all market participants similarly and cannot favor their own affiliates.
- Owners of essential facilities must allocate capacity in a fair and transparent manner.
- Rates and terms of services for use of essential facilities must be transparent and non-discriminatory.
- Important information about the system must be made available to all parties in a transparent manner.
- Owners of essential facilities who also perform other market functions must functionally separate personnel and operations of the group operating the essential facilities from other affiliated entities.