Energy consumers in the EU

27-04-2017

Consumers are considered a key element of EU energy legislation and the efforts to achieve a transition to a carbon-free society. Back in 2009, the third energy package, which sought to establish a liberalised internal energy market, granted energy consumers a number of rights, such as the right to an electricity connection, to switch energy providers and to receive clear offers, contracts and energy bills. However, some of these rights have not yet been put into practice: consumers often do not understand their bills, are unable to compare different offers, are charged for switching, or a switch takes too long. Besides, they do not always seem to be aware of their rights. The ongoing revision of EU energy legislation aims to improve some of the rules concerning consumers and to introduce new rights, such as the right to self-generate and self-consume electricity, to ask for a smart meter, or to engage an aggregator. The European Parliament has repeatedly voiced concern that the truly competitive, transparent and consumer-friendly internal energy market envisaged by the third energy package has yet to materialise and that consumers are still having trouble understanding their bills, offers and contracts. It has called, among other things, for providing consumers with increased protection and clearer information, and for requiring suppliers to automatically put customers on the best possible tariff for their individual circumstances.

Consumers are considered a key element of EU energy legislation and the efforts to achieve a transition to a carbon-free society. Back in 2009, the third energy package, which sought to establish a liberalised internal energy market, granted energy consumers a number of rights, such as the right to an electricity connection, to switch energy providers and to receive clear offers, contracts and energy bills. However, some of these rights have not yet been put into practice: consumers often do not understand their bills, are unable to compare different offers, are charged for switching, or a switch takes too long. Besides, they do not always seem to be aware of their rights. The ongoing revision of EU energy legislation aims to improve some of the rules concerning consumers and to introduce new rights, such as the right to self-generate and self-consume electricity, to ask for a smart meter, or to engage an aggregator. The European Parliament has repeatedly voiced concern that the truly competitive, transparent and consumer-friendly internal energy market envisaged by the third energy package has yet to materialise and that consumers are still having trouble understanding their bills, offers and contracts. It has called, among other things, for providing consumers with increased protection and clearer information, and for requiring suppliers to automatically put customers on the best possible tariff for their individual circumstances.