22.A.1. Background for the development of the new approach inItaly. The increase in the relevance of the European electricity market as the reference market for commercial and financial transactions, and the introduction of some relevant changes in national fiscal regulation, have led to a dramatic rise in measurement problems associated with the compilation of external trade statistics in natural gas and electricity based on customs data. The key measurement problems associated with customs declarations are due to the increasing relevance of international operations not associated with the physical movements of the goods across national borders and, from the respondent side, to the lack of information on the partner country as defined by EU regulation and compilation manuals. These measurement issues have generated some relevant data-quality problems in provisional figures already published by ISTAT on the external trade of electricity and natural gas. In particular, these provisional data were affected by overestimation and incorrect allocation of trade by partner country. The reference data sources used to benchmark customs data against external trade “real figures” in volume areTerna S.p.A.,Italy’s national grid operator for transmission and dispatching of electricity, and Snam Rete Gas S.p.a,Italy’s natural gas operator.
22.A.2. Methodology. In the new data production system, figures on total exports and imports of natural gas in the gaseous state and electricity measured as physical quantities are collected monthly from reliable sources, while for the other data required by European statistical regulations (total trade in values and breakdown of volumes and values by partner countries), new estimation procedures have been designed, tested and implemented. Table XXII.A.1 provides the list of new information sources (for a description of the methodological approach, see box XXII.A.1).
22.A.3. Conclusions. The revisions of the trade values of natural gas and electricity due to the introduction of the new estimation methodology were quite considerable. The introduction of this new data production system for external trade in electricity and natural gas has produced the following benefits:
- Increase in the data quality of national figures
- Improvement in mirror study comparisons
- Reduction of the statistical burden on the respondents from 2012 onward