Press Release

22. May 2024

Arvato Systems Ready for AS4 Changeover at Gas Suppliers and Balancing Group Managers for Electricity

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Gütersloh - An exciting question: Will the further conversion of market communication to the secure AS4 format become a sure-fire success after the electricity suppliers and their MaKo service providers were able to gain a lot of - sometimes painful - experience in the first step? Alexander Beck and Bastian Schwartz from Arvato Systems are optimistic that the AS4 projects for balancing group managers (BKV) in the electricity and gas sectors will be implemented on time. Arvato Systems is well prepared and is on schedule with the necessary system adjustments. However, a differentiated view of the market situation also reveals aspects that have the potential to be a stumbling block.

As a reminder: Since April 1, 2024, electricity suppliers and electricity grid operators have had to send their market messages in AS4 format. The changeover went smoothly for the customers supported by Arvato Systems, but by no means everywhere in the market. In steps two and three, the AS4 changeover in balancing group management for electricity and in the gas market will now follow. The Federal Network Agency has defined a transition period of just two months (October 1 to December 1, 2024) for electricity balancing group managers. The gas sector will also start on October 1, 2024, but has six months to make the switch (until April 1, 2025).

"Energy suppliers will be prepared"

"The electricity suppliers have already taken the biggest step," says Alexander Beck, Business Development Arvato Systems. "We assume that there will be a transfer of knowledge within the companies and that the balancing group managers will be prepared accordingly. In addition, the suppliers are organized in associations in which the AS4 changeover is also discussed. Of course, we are also informing our customers about the to-dos in market communication." There is potential for uncertainty in two circumstances: Firstly, the BKV software is a completely separate system world, and secondly, the contact persons are different to those involved in the first AS4 project.

Gas suppliers are entering new territory

Gas suppliers in the cross-network should also have already come into contact with the topic of AS4 through the changeover in the electricity sector. Companies that operate exclusively as gas suppliers, on the other hand, are entering uncharted territory and often still need to find partners for implementation. Bastian Schwartz, Manager IT and Service Market Communication at Arvato Systems, is nevertheless confident: "Many companies will learn from the experience gained in the electricity sector and do their homework at the beginning of the transition period. In addition to early adopters who are playing it safe, experience has shown that there will also be companies that are running out of time."

"Apply for certificates in good time!"

The most effective way to prevent this? "Applying for certificates in good time is the be-all and end-all," advises Alexander Beck. "We can provide effective support with this together with our partner Thüga SmartService." But Arvato Systems has also taken precautions in all other respects: it operates its own high-performance hardware security modules (HSM) in its own certified data centers. The experienced IT service provider therefore meets all criteria for the operation of critical infrastructures and can provide 24/7 operation in compliance with all security requirements, including all support levels. Onboarding new customers is also no problem.

"Can offer complete solution by August 1"

What is already up and running at Arvato Systems, and what still needs to be done? "Our AS4 solution can already route EDIFACT data, as used in the gas market," reports Bastian Schwartz. "For the exchange of XML files in schedule management, we still have to make minor adjustments to our industry solution B2B by Practice in order to link schedule management and market communication. We have made all the preparations so that we can offer our customers a complete solution by August 1. This also includes the extended requirements that transmission system operators place on AS4-based market communication."

About Arvato Systems

Global IT specialist Arvato Systems supports major companies in Digital Transformation. About 3,400 staff in over 25 locations stand for in-depth technology expertise, industry knowledge, and focus on customer requirements. Working as a team, we develop innovative IT solutions, transition our clients into the Cloud, integrate digital processes, and take on IT systems operation and support. As a part of the Bertelsmann-owned Arvato Group network, we have the unique capability to work across the entire value chain. Through our strong strategic partner network with global top players such as AWS, Google, Microsoft, and SAP, we continuously strengthen our know-how and leverage the most advanced technology. We Empower Digital Leaders. 

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