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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 ...

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.

Energy efficiency and renewables

20-06-2016

Renewable energy and energy efficiency policies fall under EU climate and energy policy, which is covered by the 2009 climate and energy package. In 2015, the Commission published progress reports on renewable energies and on energy efficiency, taking stock of existing achievements and highlighting the need for additional effort. On 24 May 2016, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted separate own-initiative reports on both Commission progress reports.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency policies fall under EU climate and energy policy, which is covered by the 2009 climate and energy package. In 2015, the Commission published progress reports on renewable energies and on energy efficiency, taking stock of existing achievements and highlighting the need for additional effort. On 24 May 2016, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted separate own-initiative reports on both Commission progress reports.

Energy Union: Key Decisions for the Realisation of a Fully Integrated Energy Market

24-05-2016

The aim of this study Energy Union: Key Decisions for the Realisation of a Fully Integrated Energy Market is to assess whether, and to what extent, the EU’s internal energy market objectives can effectively and efficiently be reached with the current policies and instruments. Link to the original publication: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/578968/IPOL_STU(2016)578968_EN.pdf

The aim of this study Energy Union: Key Decisions for the Realisation of a Fully Integrated Energy Market is to assess whether, and to what extent, the EU’s internal energy market objectives can effectively and efficiently be reached with the current policies and instruments. Link to the original publication: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/578968/IPOL_STU(2016)578968_EN.pdf

Zunanji avtor

Koen Rademaekers and Luc Van Nuffel (Trinomics)

Delivering a new deal for energy consumers

23-05-2016

In July 2015 the European Commission published a communication 'Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers', outlining its views on the role of consumers in the Energy Union. This argues that retail energy markets in the EU have not kept up with broader transformations in the energy sector and need to be improved so that consumers can play a more active role and benefit more fully from the single market, renewable energies and new technologies. At the May II plenary session the Parliament is due ...

In July 2015 the European Commission published a communication 'Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers', outlining its views on the role of consumers in the Energy Union. This argues that retail energy markets in the EU have not kept up with broader transformations in the energy sector and need to be improved so that consumers can play a more active role and benefit more fully from the single market, renewable energies and new technologies. At the May II plenary session the Parliament is due to vote an own-initiative resolution concerning the 'New Deal'.

Energy Security and Integration

27-04-2016

The above studies and debate indicate that there is no single solution to increasing energy security and integration. However, it is clear that increased cooperation and coordination on a European level is needed to enhance energy independence, particularly in view of the differences between Member States in relation to their degree of energy dependency. The current proposal only covers gas supply and not electricity supply, making it more difficult to assess to what extent the proposal will enhance ...

The above studies and debate indicate that there is no single solution to increasing energy security and integration. However, it is clear that increased cooperation and coordination on a European level is needed to enhance energy independence, particularly in view of the differences between Member States in relation to their degree of energy dependency. The current proposal only covers gas supply and not electricity supply, making it more difficult to assess to what extent the proposal will enhance energy security overall. While the proposal strengthens the oversight role of the European Commission, it is not clear whether the increased information requirements would contribute to a more transparent and therefore more competitive market. Taking into account the global developments is also important. LNG demand in Asia, as well as conflicts in the Middle East, will have an effect on available resources and on energy security. This increases the importance of linking EU energy policy with EU external relations as called for by Parliament. Overall, a variety of initiatives are needed, together with careful consideration of the consequences of these choices, and a recognition that EU energy dependency will continue for some time.

Security of gas supply

21-04-2016

The IA report concentrates on the very complex problem of securing access to gas by each Member State in case of disruption of supply. In this regard,  the IA builds a case in favour of common EU action and of improvement of the existing regulation to that end. The IA could have provided more background information on how Member States are grouped into the seven regions under the preferred option and how this is linked to the existing patterns of cooperation. It could also have deepened the scope ...

The IA report concentrates on the very complex problem of securing access to gas by each Member State in case of disruption of supply. In this regard,  the IA builds a case in favour of common EU action and of improvement of the existing regulation to that end. The IA could have provided more background information on how Member States are grouped into the seven regions under the preferred option and how this is linked to the existing patterns of cooperation. It could also have deepened the scope to devote more attention to the significance of environmental impacts. Finally, the section on monitoring and evaluation could have been made a lot stronger if key monitoring mechanisms had been explained more clearly.

Intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy

21-04-2016

Overall, the IA report is of sound quality and provides a wealth of background analysis, especially the evaluation report included in Annex 1. However, the IA does suffer from several weaknesses. Most importantly, the limited representativeness of stakeholders in the public consultation and the almost exclusive reliance on a qualitative and largely descriptive evaluation, are aspects which might have deserved further attention.       

Overall, the IA report is of sound quality and provides a wealth of background analysis, especially the evaluation report included in Annex 1. However, the IA does suffer from several weaknesses. Most importantly, the limited representativeness of stakeholders in the public consultation and the almost exclusive reliance on a qualitative and largely descriptive evaluation, are aspects which might have deserved further attention.       

New rules on security of gas supply

14-04-2016

On 16 February 2016 the European Commission proposed a new regulation on security of gas supply as part of its sustainable energy security package, in order to develop a stronger collective response to future supply risks, particularly concerning Russian gas arriving via the Ukrainian transit route. The Commission proposal would replace the existing regulation (in force since December 2010) and address weaknesses highlighted in an implementation report, EU gas stress tests and a public consultation ...

On 16 February 2016 the European Commission proposed a new regulation on security of gas supply as part of its sustainable energy security package, in order to develop a stronger collective response to future supply risks, particularly concerning Russian gas arriving via the Ukrainian transit route. The Commission proposal would replace the existing regulation (in force since December 2010) and address weaknesses highlighted in an implementation report, EU gas stress tests and a public consultation. The Commission proposal seeks to improve rather than overhaul the existing regulation, and keeps many of its key features intact. Major innovations include a solidarity principle that prioritises households and essential social services during an emergency situation; mandatory regional preventive action and emergency plans (rather than national plans) based on new templates; fewer exemptions on bidirectional capacity at cross-border interconnectors, in order to facilitate reverse gas flows; increasing the scope of contractual information provided to the Commission; involving the Contracting Parties of the Energy Community in security of gas supply measures; and exploring the options for voluntary joint purchasing of natural gas. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

Improving the security of energy supply by developing the internal energy market: more efforts needed (European Court of Auditors' Special Report No 16/2015) - Implementation in Action

13-04-2016

The Court of Auditors' report found that although progress had been made, the objective of completing the internal energy market by 2014 had not been reached, and that more and better targeted infrastructure initiatives were needed. A generally broad agreement exists between ECA and the European Commission about what the priorities are to increase the effectiveness of the internal energy market, i.e. increase regional cooperation, improve cross-border capacity and review ACER's powers. The European ...

The Court of Auditors' report found that although progress had been made, the objective of completing the internal energy market by 2014 had not been reached, and that more and better targeted infrastructure initiatives were needed. A generally broad agreement exists between ECA and the European Commission about what the priorities are to increase the effectiveness of the internal energy market, i.e. increase regional cooperation, improve cross-border capacity and review ACER's powers. The European Commission's Energy Union framework will be the main instrument to increase implementation, strengthen European cooperation and harmonise standards across energy networks. However, given that the composition of the energy market is within the remit of Member States, their individual priorities will also influence any Europe-wide efforts. While agreeing with ECA that an EU-level infrastructure needs assessment was important, the European Commission did not see the need to bring more analytical capacity in-house. In terms of funding, while more rigorous funding criteria will come into force in 2016, the European Commission disagrees with ECA that legislation is needed to ensure that key infrastructure projects benefit the internal market, arguing that flexibility in EU funding is key to success. Given that most legislative proposals planned for Energy Union have yet to come, it will be important to monitor to what extent these initiatives meet the concerns outlined by ECA in this report and reflect the demands made by Parliament in its recent resolutions.

Energy Union: Key Decisions for the Realisation of a Fully Integrated Energy Market

15-03-2016

This study, provided by the Policy Department A at the request of the ITRE Committee gives an overview and analysis of the main EU policies, measures and instruments that contribute to the realisation of fully integrated and well-functioning electricity and gas markets in Europe. Detailed case studies explore capacity remuneration mechanisms, electricity market coupling, and cross-border gas trade between Hungary and its neighbours. Policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the integration ...

This study, provided by the Policy Department A at the request of the ITRE Committee gives an overview and analysis of the main EU policies, measures and instruments that contribute to the realisation of fully integrated and well-functioning electricity and gas markets in Europe. Detailed case studies explore capacity remuneration mechanisms, electricity market coupling, and cross-border gas trade between Hungary and its neighbours. Policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the integration process are formulated based on the key findings.

Zunanji avtor

Luc VAN NUFFEL (Trinomics), Koen RADEMAEKERS (Trinomics), Jessica YEARWOOD TRAVEZAN (Trinomics), Maaike POST (Trinomics), Onne HOOGLAND (Trinomics) and Pepa LOPEZ (Aether)

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