July 2013 marked the accession of a new Member State, Croatia, to the European Union.
CEER welcomed the Croatian energy regulatory authority, HERA, as a CEER member. With Croatia joining, CEER now represents 32 energy regulators from across Europe.
Summer time has taken a firm hold not only in Croatia but also in Brussels. Before the city visibly emptied, national consumer bodies gathered together as a group with a cross section of Europe’s energy sector at the 2013 CEER Customer Conference. The conference proceedings are now published (see the feature article below).
The International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER) has a call for articles (open to anyone) and for stories (open to female regulators only) for its new online publication, the ICER Chronicle. For more information see the international section below.
From the blistering summer sun (a rarity in Brussels), we bid you some fun and relaxation for your summer vacation. Our next edition will be out in September.
On the path towards implementing the 2020 Energy Customer Vision
CEER’s 2013 Customer Conference was a big success, attracting more than 100 participants. Among them were 20 consumer bodies and 7 ombudsmen. This year, the focus was on implementation of the 2020 Vision for Europe’s energy customers. This Vision, built with stakeholders, seeks to put energy customers first.
The RASP Principles of the 2020 Vision for Energy Customers The Vision identifies key principles that we think are important for energy customers: Reliability, Affordability, Simplicity, and Protection & Empowerment (the so-called "RASP" principles).
At the heart of the Vision, is the goal for an energy market that engages with, and understands the diverse needs of customers including the most vulnerable and those with low incomes; that delivers services that meet those needs, whilst protecting customers’ interests; and that uses resources efficiently, offering all customers a fair and affordable deal.
Strong support for the 2020 Customer Vision CEER sees focusing on the Vision as a valuable means of giving priority to customer issues. Since CEER launched the 2020 Vision (together with BEUC, the EU consumers organisation) last year, the Vision has been widely endorsed. Six (of its 15) supporters presented testimonials during our event on what they are doing or plan to do to implement it. These testimonials showed that respect of the RASP principles is crucial to ensure that customers can take full advantage of the opportunities offered in our changing energy markets and of their new position in the energy value chain. They also revealed that good practices already exist in several countries. The important lesson is that these practices need to become widespread across Europe’s energy sector.
Progress on implementation of the Vision is expected to be a theme of the European Commission’s 6th Citizens’ Energy Forum later this year. Regulators, for their part, have shown their commitment to the Vision in a CEER 3-year rolling action plan. CEER will continue working and engaging with market stakeholders towards the implementation of the 2020 Vision.
Conference Conclusions The conference discussions centred around the RASP principles, with four break-out sessions. The conference proceedings list the main conclusions. One main conclusion drawn is that complaints are an important tool to learn about customers’ expectations and satisfaction. Proper complaint handling requires important resource investments given the value of complaints and the importance of customer satisfaction.
Another session focused on the need for simple processes for switching and billing. A third session on protection and empowerment examined the involvement of consumer organisations in the regulatory process. It underlined the importance of feedback from consumer organisations in order for regulators to learn how to better protect and empower customers. The breakout session on reliability identified the need to define the relationship between the customer and the different actors, and to put in place the appropriate framework in order to empower, protect and properly inform the consumer.
• CEER Press Release: Croatia joins CEER • CEER Memo on regulatory aspects of energy investment conditions in European countries • CEER 2013 Annual Conference on Energy Customers - Proceedings
CEER is a member of the International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER). ICER has issued a call for articles (open to everyone) for its online publication, the ICER Chronicle. If you are a female regulator with a story to tell, please also share your story in the ICER Chronicle. Please submit your story/article before 3 September. Visit www.ICER-regulators.net for more information.