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ECOM+ Hot Line

All general questions regarding the projects are to be posed to , which assures quick response and forwarding to the correct person in the team. All questions of common interest regarding data collection, definitions, procedure etc are posted on an FAQ at this website, in addition to direct response to the questioning party.

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The questions are classified into:
1. General Questions
2. Questions on the spreadsheet
3. Questions on asset definitions
4. Questions on weights





What is meant by stream investment (from 1965 up to 2003)?
Does it include all internal imputations?
Which of the following items should be applied?
a) The projecting and construction department costs?
b) The grid planning department costs?
c) Management overhead cost?
d) Financial interests during the construction period?



Following the wire-company principle in the Charter,
a) is included if it is activated (Grid Construction)
b) is excluded as Grid Planning
c) is excluded as it is harmonized to OPEX
d) is Grid Owner


Concerning the streaming investment, when is it supposed to occur?
a) When the investment cash flow really occurred?
b) When the project was transferred into operation?



The investment stream (monetary) follows the cash-flow principle in your accounting, i.e. (a).


It should be noted that the TSO's transmission activity covers not only the transmission at 400 kV, 220 kV and 150 kV, along all the continental country, but also the obligation to supply distribution at 60 kV (or 30 kV in some few cases). All substations assets, having delivering points to the distribution, include transformers from VHV (400 kV or 220 kV or 150 kV) to 60 kV, and, in some cases, even the 60kV bus bar. The O&M cost the TSO will provide covers all TSO’s transmission equipment. In accordance, the asset values will also cover the delivering to the distribution at 60kV. 



We note the inclusion of transmission assets down to 60kV, this will be taken into account when determining the weights.


Should interests during the construction period and management overhead costs imputed to the investment be included in “other assets” category, assuming they are not included in the “item by item” assets values?



No, neither cost is to be activated in the asset values.

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The way to fill the spreadsheet lines is not very clear. Should the information be provided item-by-item (each line, each cable, each circuit end, each transformer) or only the total for each combination of categories? Could you provide an example of a filled spreadsheet?



The information is intended as a total for each combination of categories. We will provide an example for distribution within the group.


Some doubts still persist concerning the contents of columns:
and columns between R and BE. The yellow right side of the sheet (data from <1965 up to 2003:columns R to BE), according to the explanatory notes, is to be filled up with physical data, whose total is displayed in column Q. Curiously column P (assets) is identical to column Q, except for the first row (total of the years is 53 and asset figure, in column P is 51).
If this interpretation is correct, where should we fill the data of stream investment (monetary units)?
Returning to OPEX and CAPEX columns, we still don't know what kind of data is supposed to be filled in.



The yellow right side of the sheet [column R to BE] has to be filled with units (counted in pieces) purchased in the according year. The units are weighted with the CAPEX and OPEX.
These assets are summed up in the "TOTAL" column [Q]. For the OPEX benchmarking we use "ASSET" column [P], which is the number of assets in use. In most cases "TOTAL" and "ASSET" are equal. The mentioned difference in the first row of the example serves to illustrate the case where an investment into 53 circuits end was done but only 51 are in use. In this case the 53 circuit ends are weighted with the CAPEX-weight, but only 51 circuit ends are weighted with the OPEX-weight.
When no number is given in the column "ASSET" we assume the calculated result from the column "TOTAL" by default. Note that "ASSETS" = "TOTAL" and that any difference is subject to justification.
The OPEX column [N] gives for each category an estimation of the operating cost (defined as in the benchmark) allocated per unit of measurement of the category. OPEX is defined as absolute (expense in some base year to be defined) or relative (multiples of some factor). The OPEX-weight [N], multiplied with all assets in use [P] for all categories sums up to benchmarked OPEX. This allows decomposition of results, finding out exactly where the operating differences are and allowing further studies of e.g. equipment quality.
The CAPEX column [O] is in your case most easily defined as the average asset value (recalculated as in the benchmark) from the 1994 balance with investments until 2003 for corresponding category. However, for most TSOs it is defined as the most recent representative investment cost for the asset.
Note that your OPEX and CAPEX weights will not have a direct impact on your result, they merely contribute to the interpretation of the results.


In your data definition guide (2005-01-06 / ver 1.5) item 6.13 (Compensating Devices) you explain what T,S and V mean. But the table above, as well as the spreadsheet model, include ALSO the dimension P(ower). Hence, the unit for TT-051-S1S-V-0-0 has been set to MVA. I wonder if that is correct. Should there be any P dimension for Compensating Equipment (6.13) at all? Should not the class 051 be deleted for this group? The same question seems to apply also to series compensation.



SClass 051 is essential and reported in column "P". The meaning of "power" in the table is apparent power (expressed in MVA). For a compensating device the "Nominal Power" is in fact Mvar (Mega Volt-Ampere reactive). Like for all other AC components the nominal power is expressed in MVA. In Class 050 the numbers of installation is counted. In Class 051 the total reactive power is counted but no subdivision into different power classes is done.


The cross section equivalent column seems to be missing in the spreadsheet for lines and cables!



SThat is correct! We release the new spreadsheet version (ver. 1.3) on Thursday, January 20.

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We are assuming that assets of lines (and cables), transformers and compensation devices does not include any bays. Bays are included in “circuit ends”. Is that assumption correct? 



Substations are not explicitly considered. This assumption has been made for simplifying the approach. The ends of lines, cables, transformers, etc. should be included. This mean is used to include the incidence of complexity of substation.


“Circuit end” means strictly “bay” or, additionally, it includes some other substation equipment? 



Raking account of the global approach considered (see Q-5), circuit end should include “bay” in generalized way.


The TSO’s substation assets include not only bays, transformers and compensation devices but also investment costs related with: land, buildings and infrastructure, metering, automation and control equipment, some other auxiliary equipment. Are those investments costs supposed to be included? Where? In “other assets”? 



Buildings, auxiliary equipment and infrastructure that directly relate to substations are to be included in the investment of the primary asset of the substation (usually the transformer). Other buildings are excluded, as well as all land.


Is the sum of all items concerning asset values of: “lines”, “cables”, “circuit ends”, “transformers”, “compensation devices”, “series compensation” and “other assets” supposed to be equal to the total transmission assets? 



No, generic assets (buildings and equipment) for administration and maintenance, land and right-of-way leases and immaterial rights are excluded. However, the residual proportions will be reviewed and complementary information may be requested if necessary.


In SSS code, if first S=1 (1SS) this means a double circuit ends. What is a double circuit end?



This accounts for the complexity of substations: single or double bus bars (or more), or one breaker and a half implementation.


As we can understand, circuit ends make the connection of lines, cables and transformers. Where should be considered the inter-bus and by-pass bays?



Such details should be “merged”, taking account of the global approach used for considering substations.


We question the category <= 150 kV. No transformer or line with a lower primary voltage level than 100 kV should be included in the study. If it is included, distribution level equipment enters and is treated in the same category as the high voltage lines and transformation which cannot be compared cost wise. Regarding compensation assets, lower voltage equipment must be included if they support higher voltage systems (above 100 kV) only. If below 100 kV is included, we believe you would probably get large random variations to what each company actually reports, and consequently to the results.



The low voltage side of the range is questionable due to the definition of what is considered as "distribution" in a particular system. Example: in England and Wales 132 kV is being included in distribution whereas in Scotland 132 kV is transmission. Elia, a potential participant, has networks on 70, 36 and 30 kV in their TSO activities. We will adopt a flexible definition set in function of the real situation, investigating for each TSO the character of possible installations below 150kV.


How do you define cross-section equivalent?



This is simply the total cross section of the active part (for example Al cross section of a Steel reinforced conductor) of each conductor making the bundle used (single conductor, 2, 3 or more sub-conductors for each phase).


"What do you mean by - single/double? - open/closed? - Circuit ends: transmission line bays, transformer bays- and/or anything else?



In the list of items, are only considered links (lines, cables and transformers) and compensations devices (shunt or series connected). Substations are not considered per se. Circuit end is the mean used to take account of the substation costs associated with bays. The number of bus bars in the substation is considered and the nature of the sub-station. This has been chosen as a simplifying approach, but also as a continuation of the previously developed approach.


We strongly recommend that Gas Insulated is added to the existing sub-categories now consisting of Air insulated and Metal Clad. Gas Insulated circuit ends are not comparable to the other two cost-wise. Alternatively, Gas Insulated circuit ends could replace Metal Clad as a category. Because Metal Clad is normally only used below 100 kV. Below 100 kV might not be of much interest in this study.



Taking account of the voltage considered, metal clad was implicitly gas insulated installation.


What do you mean by ULTC?



It is described as "under load tap changer", hence the possibility to change under load conditions the transformer ratio for voltage and/or power control.


"What is included? Should the connection to the grid be included? SVC: Is transforming equipment included at part of one SVC? We take it that circuit ends are not. Reactors: In the original ECOM study reactors (oil core and air core) were included, and are included in our aggregate cost figures. Reactors must come in as an additional category under compensating equipment.



The connection is implicitly or explicitly considered. Example: a compensation device connected on the tertiary winding of an already existing transformer is indeed different in terms of installation costs compared to the same compensation device requiring a specific transformer for insuring its connection. This is a result of the necessary simplification of the approach.
Reactors are considered within compensating equipment.

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In the new spreadsheet version, two additional input columns (yellow) are included: "OPEX" and "CAPEX". TSO don't have imputations of "opex" and "capex" to each asset item. We were expecting "capex" (and maybe "opex" item by item) as an intermediate result of the model. Could SUMICSID clarify this?



The capital values that are calculated in (2) above, alternatively through the MEA in 1994 are the indeed the local CAPEX weights. Analogously, each TSO has some allocation of OPEX to activities and assets, which constitutes the local OPEX weights. It is correct that sumicsid will determine a standard set of weights as an output of the model, which will serve as common comparator. However, local weights are useful to (i) analyze differences in item quality and operation and (ii) to supplement the standard set for special assets. In summary, REN already has CAPEX weights directly in the data.


Portuguese Accounting Reports don't have explicitly de concept of OPEX and CAPEX. We believe that TSO's Benchmarked Opex Statement should start from "Operating Costs", which contains assets depreciation costs and do not contain any financial costs. Also the costs related with the "Almost Single Buyer" function, that the TSO still has, should be deducted. TSO will propose some adjustments to the OPEX sheet.



Adjustments and amendments of the OPEX sheet are welcome, provided they are made in a transparent fashion and refer to easily verifiable accounting projects/objects.


In the OPEX sheet, only "non-operation telecom costs" are subtracted from OPEX to obtain benchmarked OPEX. Does this mean that telecom costs to control and operate the grid should remain within benchmark costs?





"Costs related to interconnectors" are deducted to obtain benchmarked OPEX. Which kind of costs are these? Only "ETSO Inter TSO's Compensation"?



In addition to the ETSO inter-TSO compensation (whatever sign), identifiable costs related to the control and administration of interconnectors can be deducted, if they are specified and justified.


Some of our weights are kept by our maintenance dept. as relative for other purposes. Absolute figures are not always available. We wonder how and where to put them in your spreadsheet. In the original ECOM study, there was a separate weight system for opex and capex. Is that still the case, or do we need to calibrate the two som that the number for maintenance of 1 km line can be directly compared to the number for investment i 1 km line ?.



IYou can report relative figures, just state the definitions under the sheet "weights OPEX / CAPEX". As in the previous study, the weight system is separate OPEX and CAPEX, columns N and O for each asset category that you use.

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