Third-party access

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Third party access policies require owners of natural monopoly infrastructure facilities to grant access to those facilities to parties other than their own customers, usually competitors in the provision of the relevant services, on commercial terms comparable to those that would apply in a competitive market.

Third party access policies play an important role in Australia's National Competition Policy, and are applied to "essential infrastructure which cannot be economically duplicated", including electricity transmission and distribution grids, rail tracks and ports.

The third-party access right (‘TPA’) in the energy market context is the idea that in certain circumstances economically independent undertakings operating in the energy sector should have a legally enforceable right to access and use various energy network facilities owned by other companies.[1]

The Internal Energy Market Directives[2] envisage the third-party access right as a crucial element of organisation of access to the energy infrastructure system in Europe and as the main instrument for opening the Internal Energy Market to competition.


  1. ^ Aleksander Kotlowski 'Third-Party Access Rights in the Energy Sector: A Competition Law Perspective.' Utilities Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2007. Available at SSRN:
  2. ^ Council Directive (EC) 2003/54 of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity: OJ 2003 L176/37