Highlights from Eress Forum 2019

Eress Forum 2019 in Brussels was a success. 165 participants (100 onsite and 65 virtual ones) met to network, discuss and share news, and exchange experiences and knowledge related to the railway-energy sector. Below we explore some of the highlights to come out of this year’s Forum. 


To start, DG Move, the EU commission, was present at this year’s Eress Forum. This is the Directorate which writes the laws that regulate how railway energy works in Europe. During the Forum, its representative, Nino Zambara, stated his willingness to help push the railway-energy sector to have more interoperability in the future. This means that national rules need to apply the latest EU regulations to move the industry forward in its efforts for standardisation. Currently, each country has its own set of rules, which makes interoperability difficult to manoeuvre. 


Fortunately, we have the upcoming EU deadlines, starting with the 2020 mandate that states that there needs to be an energy exchange and settlement in place to handle energy in each EU country. This, in turn, requires a data collection system to be implemented, but the deadline for that isn’t until 2022. That said, there are still some reluctant member states, when it comes to moving forward with implementation due to matters of distrust and economy. 


The International Railway Standard IRS19930 was also discussed at this year’s Forum. The IRS initiative gathers a group of experts from across Europe, who analyse together how railway energy should work on a technical, practical basis. To clarify, the EU commission regulates railway energy in a general way, while the IRS regulates it in a more hands-on way.  An initiative to continue technical discussions was proposed at Eress Forum, to discuss concrete  challenges when applying the latest EU regulations in the months and years to come.


Another announcement made this year, was that Eress is working on a new Erex version, which will be available next year, in 2020.  This updated version will be even more user-friendly, making it easy to scale and harmonise across systems and countries. 


Another highlight to come out of this year’s Forum was the Sector Declaration. It was expressed by representatives from both EIM and CER that there are more than enough frameworks in place. Instead, what is needed are more practical guidelines to help both train operators and infrastructure managers implement these new requirements. So, what started out as the drafting of a Sector Declaration ended with an overall agreement that how-to guides and more hands-on resources are the best way to move forward. 


Overall, the discussions that took place throughout Eress Forum were very open and productive. The first workshop was focused on what solutions are offered by energy meter suppliers and how they should be functioning. The second one was more focused on regulations, in terms of what still needs to be done. This time around, the representatives from various countries were more straightforward about whether or not they were using a meter-based billing solution, and their reasons for that. 


As a final note, there were many questions asked during Eress Forum that we did not have time to answer. Therefore, we will be reviewing those questions in the upcoming months and posting the answers on the Eress website. So stay tuned. 

Created Friday, June 28, 2019


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