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Market Communication via AS4! What Does This Mean for the Upcoming Format Changes?

Transmission of Electricity Schedule Messages and Gas Market Processes in Focus

Market Communication via AS4
Data Management
Digital Transformation

To increase the level of protection for the transmission of electricity schedule messages and gas market processes to a Smart Meter Public Key Infrastructure, the AS4 communication protocol will also be used from 01.10.2024.

1. Background Information on the Previous Changeover to AS4

As a result of the new regulations of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the mandatory protection of part of the market communication in the electricity sector to the protection level of a Smart Meter Public Key Infrastructure (SM-PKI) has been compulsory since 01.04.2024. This is accompanied by converting the communication protocol to AS4 for the WiM, GPKE, MPES, and MaBiS message formats. The specifications within the framework of BNetzA BK6 contain specific regulations on the transmission path using AS4 to ensure efficient and, above all, secure market communication.


The various market roles on the German energy market must exchange all relevant message formats from the aforementioned specification documents must be exchanged by the various market roles on the German energy market via AS4. This particularly affects grid operators (NB), suppliers (LF), balancing group coordinators (BIKO), transmission system operators (ÜNB), energy service providers (ESA), metering point operators (MSB), and balancing group managers (BKV).

2. Upcoming Changes for Electricity Schedule Messages and Gas Market Processes

To raise the level of protection for the transmission of electricity schedule messages and gas market processes to an SM-PKI, the AS4 communication protocol will also be used from 01.10.2024. Despite the far-reaching challenges, the affected market participants can benefit from a wide range of advantages:

Increased security

Increasing the level of protection in market communication when exchanging sensitive data is crucial, given the growing threats posed by cyber-attacks and data security breaches.

Increased efficiency

AS4 enables more efficient and secure communication between market participants. Standardized message formats and communication protocols can streamline processes and minimize errors.

Regulatory requirements for electricity schedule messages

Ruling Chamber 6 of the Federal Network Agency has defined specific regulations for secure data exchange via AS4 in the scheduling process. In emergencies that are not further defined, communication by e-mail remains permitted as "emergency communication." Starting on 01.10.2024, a two-month transition phase is planned for the changeover to AS4, starting on 01.10.2024. These changes primarily affect the market roles of transmission system operators (TSOs) and balancing group managers (BGMs).

Regulatory requirements for gas processes

With the specification GeLi Gas 2.0, Decision Chamber 7 of the Federal Network Agency has created the framework conditions for starting the changeover to AS4 from 01.10.2024. From 01.04.2025, a higher level of protection will also be mandatory for all market participants. The market roles affected are grid operators (NB), suppliers (LF) and metering point operators (MSB).

3. Challenge and Solutions

The ongoing AS4 projects in the German energy market present gas market participants and electricity balancing group managers with technical and procedural challenges. Adjusting existing IT systems and processes requires careful preparation and reliable planning. The following priorities should be prioritized:

  • Technical changeover: For gas market participants and electricity balancing group managers in the German energy market, introducing AS4 requires extensive adjustments to existing IT systems and processes in the respective market roles. Solutions can include timely planning, resource allocation, and early preparation of technical IT support. Energy suppliers that have already dealt with the AS4 changeover for electricity as interconnected companies could be at an advantage here and have access to the project experience already gained in the group of companies.

  • Interoperability: Ensuring interoperability between market participants' various IT systems and platforms of market participants can be a challenge. Timely interoperability tests and the definition of uniform standards can help here.

  • Education and training: Market participants must train their employees accordingly to ensure that they are familiar with the new communication protocol and the associated processes. Training programs and information materials can support this.

  • Timing changeover: The transition phases leading up to the full implementation of AS4 require precise scheduling and coordination of all parties involved. Early preparation and clear communication are crucial to avoid bottlenecks and delays.


The successful introduction of AS4 for other market processes and sectors will significantly contribute to securing and modernizing the German energy sector. However, monitoring the challenges and developing appropriate solutions early is essential to ensure a smooth transition.

4. Expected changes for a resilient level of security in data exchange in market communication

To achieve a uniform and resilient level of security for data exchange in market communication, further adjustments are to be expected:

  • Redispatch 2.0
  • Gas cooperation agreement
  • Gas schedule messages

5. Successful Implementation of AS4: Best Practices for the Electricity Sector

Arvato Systems was on time for the AS4-based market communication in the electricity supply on time. An open-shift environment was handed over to Thüga SmartService GmbH and its customers by the contract. This enables them to meet all requirements for AS4-based processes entirely and with maximum scalability. Thüga SmartService can now successively draw further customers into AS4 communication.

6. Conclusion: AS4 Is the Key to the Efficient and Secure Exchange of Sensitive Data in Market Communications for Electricity Schedule Notifications and Gas Market Processes

With the secure infrastructure of the Smart Meter Gateway and the associated market communication, the Federal Network Agency and the Federal Office for Information Security are creating a uniform level of security for the exchange of sensitive data. The gradual changeover requires enormous effort from everyone involved and must be carefully planned. The right choice of a reliable AS4 service provider is essential here.

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Written by

Alexander Beck
Alexander Beck
Expert for Energy Industry Processes