[tz] Time zones get in the way of Romanian power trading

Martin Burnicki martin.burnicki at meinberg.de
Wed Oct 21 07:30:19 UTC 2015

Paul Eggert wrote:
> ANRE, the energy regulator in Romania, has an interesting way of trading
> electric power. Its power exchange operates on Central European Time,
> whereas its over-the-counter platform operates on Eastern European Time.
> This is because the power exchange is part of the 4M market (the Czech
> Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia) which has standardized on CET,
> whereas the OTC platform is based on the local time in Romania.
> As a result, a participant who trades a day ahead on the Romanian OTC
> platform can be caught out of balance if they attempt to clear their
> position on the exchange. ANRE says the cost of shifting their OTC
> platform to CET would exceed the benefits of simpler access to the
> markets. In the meantime, it would seem that there are interesting
> time-zone-based arbitrage opportunities in Romanian power trading (or
> maybe opportunities for anti-arbitrage? :-).
> These are all 24-hour markets. Dumb question: why don't they standardize
> on UTC?

The U.S. and other large countries are so large that they spread across
several time zones, so people who are used to communicate from the West
coast to the East coast are aware that they need to take the time zone
into account when they compare times.

However, each European country is located in a single time zone, so lots
of people are not even aware that there are different time zones. Only
if they take a flight for holidays etc. they are wondering why times
differ. ;-)

So from my experience even many software didn't have in mind that they
have to take care of time zones when they initially wrote e.g. some
billing software which was only used in their own country, so when they
suddenly have to think globally, e.g. compare data recoreded in
countries belonging to different time zones, the are totally surprised.

We have even some customers that requested for NTP server solutions
where NTP sends local time, including DST changes, instead of UTC. We
always have to explain to them why this is a very bad idea, but there
are even some 3rd party client devices out there (especially in power
industries) which really expect this. :-(

Martin Burnicki

Senior Software Engineer

MEINBERG Funkuhren GmbH & Co. KG
Email: martin.burnicki at meinberg.de
Phone: +49 (0)5281 9309-14
Fax: +49 (0)5281 9309-30

Lange Wand 9, 31812 Bad Pyrmont, Germany
Amtsgericht Hannover 17HRA 100322
Geschäftsführer/Managing Directors: Günter Meinberg, Werner Meinberg,
Andre Hartmann, Heiko Gerstung
Web: http://www.meinberg.de

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