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The principles and rules of operation of the European Energy Certificate System are contained in the EECS Rules. This document defines a certificate as an electronic record or guarantee relating to the attributes of fuel consumed and technology employed in the production of a unit of energy.

Certificates are created, change owners and are eventually cancelled (made untransferable) - under a carefully developed and managed control infrastructure, the EECS Rules, as interpreted in each domain (the country or region for which the issuing body is responsible) in a "Domain Protocol". The adequacy of this interpretation is assured by the members of the AIB as a precondition of membership.