Frequently asked questions
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What is Eress?
Eress is a non-profit organisation, jointly owned by its partners. We are committed to the development, implementation, and supply of the energy settlement solution called Erex. Eress current 9 partners are: Banedanmark (Rail NetDenmark), Infrabel (Belgian Railway Infrastructure Manager), BaneNOR (Norwegian national railway infrastructure manager), Trafikverket (Swedish Transport Administration), Väylä (Finnish Transport Agency), SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen), Vivens (Dutch Railway Energy Procurement Cooperative), Adif (Spanish state-owned Infrastructure Manager) and CFL (Luxembourg Railway Infrastructure Manager)
Who owns Eress?
Eress partners jointly own both the Eress organisation and the Erex system.
Who can join Eress?
Eress is an European public partnership between infrastructure managers, infrastructure managers who are also train operators, and other entities fulfilling the role of infrastructure manager in their country.
Any national entity that is responsible for the settlement of railway energy onboard trains can join Eress organisation.
How much does it cost to join Eress?
Since 2012, the entrance fee for new partners is €0.
Do I need to tender prior to joining?
Because Eress is a public partnership, infrastructure managers do not need to tender prior to joining.
As a public partnership, Eress does not offer commercial services to the market. Because of this, and because Erex is tendering herself for each new development, it is not necessary for new partners to tender before joining. This holds true for any country that wants to come onboard. Anyone can join and receive free access to the Erex system.
I want to become a partner of Eress. How do I join?
New partners join Eress partnership by signing an Accession Letter.
Please contact us if you are interested in Eress partnershio agreement and its accession letter.
How is the Eress Steering Group set up?
The members of Eress Steering are elected by all Eress Partners. Currently 5 partners are members of Eress Steering Group. Eress Steering Group is responsible for the strategic direction, further development, and operation of Eress. All partners can be observers at the Steering Group meetings. Eress chairman is elected by all partner representatives.
Eress Steering Group currently consists of the following representatives:
- Representative of the Norwegian infrastructure manager (Bane NOR): Vibeke Hodne (also Chair of Eress Steering Group)
- Representative of the Danish infrastructure manager (banedanmark): Mads Thostrup
- Representative of the Belgian infrastructure manager (Infrabel): Bart Van der Spiegel
- Representative of the Swiss infrastructure manager (SBB): Bruno Zurfluh
- Representative of the Spanish infrastructure Manager (Adif): Maria Victoria Calleja
Eress Partner Representatives and observers at Eress Steering Group:
- Representative of the Swedish infrastructure manager (Trafikverket): Lars Johansson
- Representative of the Dutch infrastructure manager (Prorail): Daan Verbaan
- Representative of the infrastructure manager from Luxembourg (CFL): Christian Zimmer
- Representative of the Finnish infrastructure manager (Väyla): Simo Toikkanen
What is Eress partnership agreement?
The Eress Partnership Agreement is a multilateral agreement, signed by the partners, to govern the rights and duties of each member.
The Eress partnership is a non-profit organisation, based on collaboration and innovation, committed to the integration of new partners, based on the same terms as the original partners. Fairness and a balanced split of both investment and operational costs is one of the fundamental principles underlying the partnership.
Will new partners be subject to Public Procurement Law?
No, new partners do not have to take into consideration the public procurement regulations when entering the Eress partnership. This means that no tender is needed when adhering to Eress organisation.
Eress has been set up to achieve the common goal of performing an optimal solution for settling train energy consumption on a non-profit basis. This is common for all Eress partners. To give you an example, if you want to be part of a boat club, you buy shares in the club and get access, plus the right to use the club. The same principle applies to Eress. The new entrant gets the same shares as the existing partners and access to Eress, plus the right to use the Erex system. Therefore, the accession to Eress partnership is not subject to public procurement law.
Will the services rendered by Eress be subject to Public Procurement Law?
As long as Eress supplies services only to its partners / owners, and the services are part of the infrastructure managers' public services of maintaining and improving railway competitiveness and interoperability, then the partners / owners may receive services from Eress, irrespective of public procurement law, provided that all partners have a vote in a steering committee or general assembly.
This question is linked to the notion of "in-house" services.
The EU Directives on public procurement (Public Sector Directive 2004/18/EC and Utilities Directive 2004/17/EC) do not apply to in-house services. The Directives do not explicitly mention in-house services, but there is a common agreement on this, since there is no contractual relationship between two separate legal entities in such cases.
Even if the deal concerns separate legal entities, it may, under certain circumstances, be regarded as in-house services. In case C-107/98 (Teckal), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared that an arrangement with a distinct legal entity that is closely connected with the procuring entity can also sometimes be looked upon as an in-house arrangement, and thus fall outside the scope of the public procurement directives. The reason for this being not to make unnecessary obstacles for an authority in its efforts to organise its activities in a practical and serviceable manner.
In cases of arrangements with distinct legal entities, the ECJ has set out 2 conditions for this to apply:
- The procuring entity must exercise over the supplying entity "a control which is similar to that which it exercises over its own departments.”
- The supplying entity must carry out "the essential part of its activities with the controlling local authority or authorities.”
According to succeeding case-law from the ECJ, the second condition will be fulfilled if at least 80% of the providers' business is directed to the related procuring entity or entities. In a later case, C-26/03 (Stadt Halle), the in-house question as to purchase from a separate legal entity is addressed in paragraph (49), which says:
"In accordance with the Court's T-case law, it is not excluded that there may be other circumstances in which a call for tenders is not mandatory, even though the other contracting party is an entity legally distinct from the contracting authority. That is the case where the public authority which is a contracting authority exercises over the separate entity concerned a control which is similar to that which it exercises over its own departments and that entity carries out the essential part of its activities with the controlling public authority or authorities (see, to that effect, Teckal, paragraph 50). It should be noted that, in the case cited, the distinct entity was wholly owned by public authorities. By contrast, the participation, even as a minority, of a private undertaking in the capital of a company in which the contracting authority in question is also a participant excludes in any event the possibility of that contracting authority exercising over that company a control similar to that which it exercises over its own departments."
The plural form "authority or authorities" in both the "Stadt Halle" and the "Teckal" cases is considered to mean that the second condition may be fulfilled by adding up activities with several owners of the entity. Thus, it does not matter if there are four or more owners, as will be the case here. Moreover, in Eress' case, 100% of the services are rendered to the owning partners.
It has not, until last autumn, been certain whether the first condition may be met if the procuring entity shares the control of the supplying entity with other contracting authorities, which is the case with Eress. In September 2009, however, the ECJ gave an opinion in Case-573/07 (Sea Srl), where it is stated in paragraph (55) that:
"The case-law does not require the control exercised over the contracting company in such a case to be individual, and it is recognized that when several public authorities own a company to which they entrust the performance of one of their public service tasks, the control which those public authorities exercise over that entity may be exercised by them jointly."
Consequently, the control exercised by the partners or members of a company jointly may be classified as similar to the control they exercise over their own departments. The ECJ holds this to be the case when:
- the company's (Eress') activity is limited to the territory of those authorities (the owners) and is carried out essential for their benefit, and
- through the bodies established under the company's statutes made up of representatives of those authorities, the latter exercise conclusive influence on both strategic objectives of the company and on its significant decisions.
Will the purchase of goods and services by Eress be subject to Public Procurement Law?
Eress shall have to observe the public procurement regulations when entering into a work, supply, or service contract.
Consequently, Eress must follow the regulations when procuring goods, services, or works from third parties, just like the owning infrastructure managers are obliged to comply with public procurement regulations when they are entering into a work, supply, or service contract with third parties. Eress is a "contracting authority" in the meaning set forth in the Directive's Article 1.9 where this definition is given:
"Contracting authorities means the State, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law, associations formed by one or several of such authorities or one or several of such bodies governed by public law."
What is Erex?
Erex, is Eress IT-system. Erex is an efficient, reliable, accurate, and flexible energy exchange and settlement system. The Erex solution enables our partners to fulfill requirements for a neutral and non-discriminatory operation and allows train operators to understand their use of energy, thereby improving driving efficiency and reducing costs.
Will Erex meet my technical requirements and local regulations?
Erex is currently a unique solution for cross-European railway traffic due to its flexible design. It is built to fulfill and comply with all of your technical requirements, as well as both local and European regulations.
Eress partners are actively involved in the European standardisation process to ensure a continuous improvement and compliance with standards. Erex is always up-to-date with the latest regulations as it is designed by its owners and users. Erex is already compatible with your future needs and the needs of your customers.
Where can I learn more about Erex?
You can learn more about railway energy and Eress by going to our knowledge sharing events. If you cannot find what you are looking for or would like additional information, please contact us.