Energy Traders Join To Develop B2B Standards

Nine energy traders have teamed up to form the Energy Trading Standards Group, an open consortium that plans to work toward developing standards to automate the sale of wholesale energy and to improve information sharing among traders.

One of the consortium's co-founders, HoustonStreet, also said yesterday that it was extending its wholesale energy-trading platform to Europe and would launch those operations Sept. 27.

ETSG, the new trading group, plans to develop open standards based upon extensible markup language, or XML, considered the gold standard for Internet commerce. Initially, the companies plan to create standards to exchange data between online trading platforms and for transaction/risk management systems used by wholesale electricity and natural gas trading companies.

The consortium plans to develop standards to improve the external exchange of transaction and related data among energy trading partners, basically setting up a one-size-fits-all language.

ETSG's co-founder, Caminus Corp., joins ABB Energy Information Systems, Automated Power Exchange, Open Link Energy, Inc., Triple Point Technology Inc., GFInet and Sapient. Other companies also will be encouraged to join.

"XML is rapidly becoming the key data interchange standard for time-critical, high volume information sharing on the Web, and is a step toward improving operational efficiency in trading systems," said Amini Rawji, TransCanada Energy vice president. TransCanada is active in the energy markets.

ETSG will streamline the "deal capture" process by creating open standards that automate the internal data exchange between front-line traders and their company's mid- and back-office transaction management systems. The automation process is expected to save energy traders time and money by reducing errors on trade ticket generation and data entry. It also will provide real-time access to trade data and reduce the cost of building and managing proprietary systems and connectors.

In its second announcement yesterday, HoustonStreet said that Electrabel, RWE and Vattenfall, three of the top energy companies in Europe, have invested an undisclosed amount of money toward a liquid over-the-counter marketplace for energy trading companies. They also plan to integrate HoustonStreet into their e-commerce strategies.

Initially, HoustonStreet, headquartered in Portsmouth, NH, will provide traders with a single pan-European marketplace for buying and selling electricity, rolling out the platform to different regions in stages, kicking off the platform at the end of this month.

"HoustonStreet has the right technology at the right time to seize the opportunity in Europe's deregulating energy markets," said Hans-Dieter Erfkemper, managing director of RWE Energy Trading.

In August, HoustonStreet joined the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards --- OASIS --- to bring open standards to wholesale energy trading. Through the independent, nonprofit OASIS, which is dedicated to cultivating XML to simplify business practices, HoustonStreet said it wanted to encourage industry-trading efficiency.

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