Proudly wearing our customer hat
Whether it is smart meters, smart grids, energy infrastructure or renewables, CEER strongly advocates the continuing need for concerted efforts by regulators, industry, EU policy makers and consumer associations alike to focus on customers and their needs. This hinges on regulators’ strong belief that well-functioning wholesale and retail markets can and should deliver benefits to consumers.
CEER’s significant presence (6 presentations) on the Citizens’ Energy (London) Forum programme (26-27 October) is testimony to CEER’s commitment and contribution to customer issues. A common thread running through CEER’s work is customer empowerment and building customer trust in the market.
Retail markets that benefit consumers
At the London Forum, CEER will showcase 2 concrete examples of regulators efforts to make energy markets work to the benefit of customer interests.
Example 1 - Customer Empowerment and Protection
The EU’s 3rd Package of energy market liberalisation legislation (2009) bestows on national regulators a new role in consumer protection and empowerment. CEER has examined the roles and responsibilities of NRAs in customer empowerment and protection examines the situation before implementation of the 3rd Package. In a follow-up exercise next year actual implementation of the 3rd Package customer empowerment and protection issues will be assessed.
Example 2 – Making it easy for customers to compare offers
CEER believes that access to user-friendly information can empower customer to take an active role in the market, for example by switching tariffs or suppliers. But first it must be easy for customers to compare different offers. This is why CEER will, at the London Forum, launch its draft advice on web-based price comparison tools that enable energy consumers to easily compare different price offers.
Earlier this month (6th October) CEER held a hearing with respondents to its public consultation on draft guidelines of good practice GGP on retail market design.
Smart Metering that meet consumers’ needs and enable a demand response
EU legislation contains provisions regarding smart metering. One of the benefits of smart metering is that they provide consumers and suppliers with accurate information about actual consumption. A challenge is to ensure a demand response as smart meters in themselves do not save energy or lead to more active customers. CEER believes that without better customer awareness and participation, demand response will not come into practice.
Regulators began thinking about what use/benefits a customer should be able to expect from smart metering. The result was the (2010) CEER Guidelines of Good Practice (GGP) on regulatory aspects of smart metering, a suite of 28 recommendations of minimum services that should be provided to customers by smart meters. Building on this work, regulators then began thinking about what is necessary for a demand response to really take-off. CEER identified the need to clearly define roles and responsibilities of different actors with regard to demand response. In its consultation paper, CEER identifies seven stakeholders as the key enablers of demand response and sets out the different roles and responsibilities each must play in order to enable a demand response. Preliminary results of the consultation will be presented in London.
CEER will also present its findings on whether Member States have (yet) implemented CEER’s (2010) Guidelines on Complaint Handling, Reporting and Classification. It shows that just 6 months after the GGP were published, there has been some good progress in adopting CEER’s recommended practices.