The Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (BNetzA) is an independent federal authority based in Bonn. The prime task of the Federal Network Agency is to foster competition in the fields for which it is responsible by regulating these sectors and by ensuring that access to the networks is granted in a way that is both fair and non-discriminatory.
The Federal Network Agency also sees to it that basic postal and telecommunications services are available everywhere in the country and assigns finite resources of radio frequencies and telephone numbers etc. It is also responsible for protecting important consumer rights and can be called upon as an arbitration board. In order to reduce trade barriers, ensure free trade, and protect the general public from unsafe equipment, the Federal Network Agency monitors products that have been placed on the market with respect to electromagnetic compatibility in line with the Electromobility Compatibility Act and the Act on Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment. It is also the competent authority under the Digital Signature Act.
The central tasks undertaken by the Federal Network Agency with regard to energy regulation notably include the approval of network fees for the transmission of electricity and gas, the removal of obstacles that impede access to the energy supply networks for suppliers and consumers, the standardisation of the relevant processes for switching suppliers, and the improvement of conditions under which new power plants are connected to the networks.
Since 2011, the Federal Network Agency has also been responsible for the faster expansion of the electricity grid through implementation of the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act.