Consumer-centric retail energy markets shift from advocacy to action
Brussels, 18 June 2014
Regulators embed a consumer-centric approach in energy policy
Retail markets throughout Europe can and should benefit consumers
Consumers must have a strong voice on how retail markets should evolve
The main “take away” from today’s Council of European Energy Regulators’ (CEER) 2014 Customer Conference1 is the shift that has taken place from talking about the need for “consumer-centric” retail markets, to what is actually needed to make competitive energy markets a reality.
Regulators embed a consumer-centric approach in energy policy CEER President, Lord Mogg, acknowledged the value of the widespread commitment to the CEER 2020 Customer Vision2:
“The CEER 2020 Customer Vision has been an important catalyst in building a consumer-centric market. Energy markets which put the 2020 Vision’s four RASP principles (reliability, affordability, simplicity, protection & empowerment) at the heart of their design can respond to consumers’ needs and to how consumers themselves can actively be involved.”
In a dedicated session at today’s event, 9 (of the 17) Vision supporters presented what they are doing to implement the 2020 Customer Vision. CEER will report to the forthcoming Citizens’ Energy Forum3 (Autumn 2014) on supporters’ implementation of the Vision.
Competitive retail markets can and should benefit consumers CEER is at the forefront of developing competitive retail markets in which consumers can engage and exert their choice4. Making retail markets work is a core priority for regulators, accounting for more than half of the draft CEER 2015 Work Programme deliverables (currently for public consultation until 31 July).
EU Energy Commissioner, Mr Oettinger, spoke of the need for a robust regulatory framework to be in place. Other high level speakers included MEP Claude Turmes, Mr Pippo (Greek Presidency of the EU) and Mr Lo Presti (incoming Italian Presidency of the EU).
EU Consumer Commissioner, Mr Mimica, stated “In order to deliver “better deals” for energy consumers we need to implement legislation, protect energy consumer rights and establish transparent tools that can facilitate comparison of prices and contact terms”.
Today’s event included interactive breakout sessions, including on simplicity of billing and comparable price offers, and on switching and collective switching.
Consumers must have a strong voice on how retail markets should evolve The CEER annual customer conference is an important event for national consumer bodies to have their voice heard by the EU Institutions, regulators and industry alike on important policy issues, The discussion at today’s CEER 2014 Customer Conference, dedicated to retail energy markets, is an important input into the European Commission’s (DG ENER’s) current reflection on how retail markets should evolve.
At today’s event, CEER launched a public consultation5 on better engaging consumer bodies in the regulatory process (deadline 8 August 2014).
Notes for Editors:
The Council of European Energy Regulatory (CEER) is the voice of Europe’s national energy regulators. Its members and observers, from 33 European countries, are the independent statutory bodies responsible for energy regulation at national level. Visit www.ceer.eu and the dedicated customer section of the CEER website.
CEER took an initiative in 2012 to build (with stakeholders) a 2020 vision that puts energy customers first. BEUC, the European Consumer Body, also backed our initiative from the start. The result was the CEER-BEUC 2020 Vision for Energy Customers presented to the November 2012 London Forum. The CEER-BEUC 2020 Vision appears as an Annex to the London Forum Conclusions. The Vision is grounded on four RASP principles (Reliability, Affordability, Simplicity and Protection & Empowerment). In addition to the European Commission, 17 EU level energy associations have declared their support for the Vision (ANEC, CECODHAS, CEDEC, Cooperatives Europe, EDSO for Smart Grids, ENTSO-E, ENTSOG, ESMIG, EURELECTRIC, EuroCoop, Eurogas, GEODE, IGU, NEON, SEDC, UEAPME and AIB). The Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) is the newest to declare their support for the RASP Principles of the 2020 Customer Vision.
The European Commission established the Citizens’ Energy Forum ( London Forum) in October 2008. Chaired by the European Commisision, regulators, industry, representatives from government ministries, consumer bodies and independent energy ombudsmen meet annually to discuss energy retail market and customer issues.
Regulators’ ongoing (2014) consumer work includes billing, switching, price comparison tools, green offers, data management and smart meters. CEER is currently consulting on its draft work programme for 2015 (which focuses heavily on consumers). CEER also contributed heavily to the preparation of the ACER public consultation paper “Energy Regulation: A bridge to 2025, which sees the need for flexibility and functioning markets to enable a demand side response. In the year ahead, CEER plans to initiate a strategic debate on retail competition, to examine the changing role of DSOs and the development of new services offered to consumers, and conduct a benchmarking study on demand response and energy efficiency. During the EU Sustainable Energy Week later this month, we will also be issuing CEER’s final advice on ensuring market and regulatory arrangements help deliver demand-side flexibility.