CENTREL was a cooperative group of four electricity transmission systems operators located in the formerly Soviet-held regions of Eastern Europe. The four companies were CEPS (Czech Republic), MAVIR ZRt (Hungary), PSE-Operator S.A. (Poland), and SEPS (Slovak Republic). It was a partnership that became necessary after the political upheaval that took place in the late 1980’s in that region, which separated these countries from Soviet control.
CENTREL.org is a strictly informational website. It is designed to be a resource of information regarding to CENTREL and its eventual absorption into larger cooperatives. While it no longer exists today, at least not in its original form, it was a vital part of the economic development of Eastern Europe after gaining independence from the Soviet regime in Russia.
CENTREL was a regional electricity transmission systems operator (TSO) that was comprised of the interconnected transmission networks of its individual members. After gaining independence from the Soviets in 1989, there became a need to create a stable electrical grid for the entire region. As the Soviets were no longer maintaining these networks, someone had to step in and fill the void. Collectively, these four countries (the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic) became known as the Visegrad Group, after a leadership summit that took place in 1991. On October 11th, 1992, CENTREL was founded as the controlling body of the entire regional power grid.
Upon its founding, this organization had many objectives and challenges which had to be met. In order to maintain an efficient transmission network across the region, many economic, technical and organizational provisions had to first be established. This included finding ways to facilitate seamless interconnection between several smaller, established networks. It also required that an effective hierarchy of leadership and a common method of operation be instituted. Provisions of mutual assistance were also vital in order to secure fair methods of electricity trading.
Regional cooperation and interests were the founding principles of CENTREL. Through the free exchange of ideas, experience, and technical expertise, the development of efficient transmission systems across the region quickly advanced. This resulted in a highly reliable systems operation and effective transmission of power to citizens of each participating country.
In January of 1999, CENTREL was absorbed into the larger Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE). This union is comprised of member countries from all over continental Europe, including Germany, France, and Italy, just to name a few. It is the primary body that oversees the maintenance and operation for the interconnected electrical highways of Europe.
In 2008, at a conference in Prague, 42 European TSO companies signed on to create the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The UCTE was one of the many regional network operators that were merged into the ENTSO-E as a result. This system became operational in July of 2009, and has since been the governing body in charge of maintaining the European Union’s overarching power grid. Like its predecessors, the ENTSO-E is challenged with finding ever more efficient means of supplying electricity throughout the European continent.