We hope that the Covid-19 situation has improved where you are since our last newsletter as we soon move into the holiday season. One of the most important events for CEER of this time of the year is the Citizens’ Energy Forum, which went forward as a virtual forum for the first time earlier this month. CEER’s involvement and CEER work related to that Forum will be featured below. But, first, we want to bring your attention to a couple of recent publications.
- 12 November: Self-Assessment Status Report 2019 for the Roadmap to 2025 Well-Functioning Retail Energy Markets. This status report uses the framework developed by CEER in its Roadmap to 2025 Well-Functioning Retail Energy Markets. This Roadmap analyses 25 metrics developed in CEER’s 2017 Handbook for National Energy Regulators and creates a process of performing a self-assessment so that, using these metrics, regulators can assess the health of their own retail energy markets and identify gaps between the current state of the market and where they want the market to be. By identifying these gaps, NRAs can target improvements and seek ways to achieve those improvements. This is a key part of CEER’s work to deliver better markets to European energy consumers. See the Citizens’ Q&A for more on how this work is relevant for you, the consumer.
- 17 November: 2nd CEER Report on Tendering Procedures for RES in Europe. This report describes key tendering design elements and provides an overview of European experiences with the implementation of tenders to determine the level of support for electricity from Renewable Energy Sources (RES). Tenders are competitive bidding procedures used to determine cost-efficient support levels for RES installations. Different types of schemes are possible, however, all of them require a thorough and consistent design and a sufficient level of competition in order to be effective. The outcome of the tender is a level of support (i.e. per kWh) for RES producers. The set-up of a competitive bidding scheme can vary substantially depending on the political priorities, the market environment of RES technologies and on the legal framework within each country. The basic idea is that the government defines a certain volume of renewable capacity for which the support price should be determined in a competitive manner. By presenting the current state of play on RES tendering schemes in Europe, consumers can understand where competitive settings exist. CEER supports competitive tenders that have the potential to bring down RES support costs and ensure a RES deployment at least cost for energy customers.
The CEER-BEUC 2030 Vision and the European Commission’s New Consumer Agenda and Citizens’ Energy Forum
As noted in the October CEER Newsletter, as well as in a 21 October CEER Press Release, CEER, together with European Consumer Organisation BEUC, renewed our Vision for Energy Consumers with a horizon to 2030. Looking ahead to 2030 and the EU’s 2050 sustainability and climate neutrality objectives, CEER and BEUC envision a future where effective policies and frameworks ensure that consumer rights are promoted and protected, whilst delivering these objectives. The core principles of the original 2020 Vision – reliability, affordability, simplicity, protection and empowerment – remain as relevant as ever and are now reflected in a greater way in Europe’s energy laws, such as the Clean Energy Package. The CEER-BEUC 2030 Vision for Energy Consumers includes a new principle, inclusiveness, to ensure no one is left behind in the energy transition. The renewal and expansion of our core principles are driven by the deep transformation of our society and economy towards a decarbonised and sustainable future.
On Friday 13 November, the European Commission adopted “A New Consumer Agenda” – a blueprint for the future of consumer policy in the European Union. As noted in the 16 November press release, CEER supports the Commission's objectives to adapt consumer protection across all sectors consistently and efficiently, with consideration of today's realities, notably the green and digital transitions, and to enable consumers to play an active role for their own benefit and for society overall. CEER sees these elements to be broadly in line with 2030 CEER-BEUC Vision. CEER particularly supports elements of the New Consumer Agenda including:
- Greater acknowledgment of consumers as key drivers of the green and digital transitions;
- Calling for appropriate processes to be in place to ensure that information and advice provided to all EU consumers is transparent, simple, readily accessible and comparable;
- The importance given to protecting consumers against ‘greenwashing’;
- The commitment, in particular, to empower consumers of gas and district heating with the same rights and choices as those of electricity;
- The need to address the increasingly dynamic nature of contracts in the various marketplaces, which would require closer cooperation between regulators across sectors to ensure that comparison tools can result in significant gains for consumers from engaging or switching;
- Further efforts to allow consumers to use their data, in a protected and consensual way, to fully take advantage of ever-increasing digital services (including those in the energy sector);
- The link with the EU’s recovery plan for a more sustainable, resilient and fairer Europe for the next generation; and
- The emphasis on affordability to enable access to products and services for low income consumers, particularly in the context of vulnerable energy consumers.
The New Consumer Agenda was presented by Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders at the second day of the 12th Citizens’ Energy Forum on 19-20 November. On the first day, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and the Irish Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan opened the event. CEER President Annegret Groebel participated in the Plenary session, discussing the Green Deal – the EU’s recovery and growth strategy for a fair and inclusive society. Targeting climate neutrality by 2050, the Green Deal seeks to ensure a fair and inclusive transition, including helping the most vulnerable energy consumers. The context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic must also be considered. President Groebel presented the CEER-BEUC 2030 Vision for Energy Consumers alongside Monique Goyens (Director General of BEUC). President Groebel also highlighted that the EU regulatory framework of liberalised energy markets regulated by independent regulators working for an integrated internal energy market has shown its resilience in the Covid-19 crisis. It was also mentioned that it is important to not maintain extraordinary measures longer than necessary and to envisage phasing them out smoothly. CEER’s Customers and Retail Markets Working Group Chair Anne Vadasz Nilsson acted as the rapporteur for Session 1, on engaging citizens as actors of change towards a climate neutral, sustainable Europe. CEER’s Customers and Retail Markets Working Group Vice Chair Natalie McCoy was the rapporteur for Session 2, on ensuring a just transition and consumer protection in an ever-changing energy system.
The 35th European Electricity Regulatory Forum is planned for 7-8 December 2020. CEER will present on a number of topics, as is shown on the draft agenda on the Forum webpage, including on cybersecurity and on market design for flexibility.
CEER, in collaboration with the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET), organised a unique online course on “European Wholesale Electricity and Gas Market Trading” on 23-24 November 2020. This course was open to staff of National Regulatory Authorities but this course, unlike most CEER trainings, is also open to representatives from other organisations.
This year’s online edition allowed a wider participation. We welcomed 64 participants from different National Regulatory Authorities, the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, energy companies and other organisations. The participants appreciated the quality of the trainers and the materials provided, covering different aspects of electricity and gas market trading and especially trading simulations.