We hope you like CEER’s new logo. It seeks to capture the essence of what CEER stands for, namely “fostering energy markets – empowering consumers”. The flames represent gas, the light bulb electricity and when combined the image is a figure which represents active consumers. It reflects our efforts to place consumers at the heart of EU energy policy.
Indeed, this is why we have chosen "Bringing the Internal Energy Market home to consumers" as the theme of our CEER 2014 Annual Conference in January. Hurry up and register as seats are filling up fast.
November in a nutshell: CEER launched a public consultation on demand-side flexibility. CEER’s thinking on demand-side flexibility was welcomed at the European Electricity Regulatory Forum in Florence (where we presented on the topic) and at our public interactive workshop which kick-started dialogue with stakeholders on the topic.
We published an interim report on gas storage usage and the effects on security of supply. We held our first ever regulatory roundtable with the energy regulators of the Mediterranean region (see the international section). We held an event with ACER to launch our joint Market Monitoring Report on the Internal Energy Market (see the Feature Article below). The 2012 national country reports are also available.
ACER-CEER report on their findings of monitoring the Internal Energy Market
What’s in the report? It covers (for the year 2012): - electricity markets - natural gas markets - consumer protection and empowerment The electricity and gas chapters are sub-divided into retail, wholesale and access to networks (including transportation tariffs).
A major focus of the report is on consumer-related developments (and this year there is a short Citizens' Summary). The Report examines compliance with consumer rights (such as universal service obligations, supplier switching and complaint handling) and smart meter roll-out in Europe.
Main findings on the Retail Market - There is almost unchanged electricity demand and a decrease in gas demand. Despite the continuing economic downturn in 2012, household gas prices in the EU rose by 10% and household electricity prices by 4.6%, leading to significant economic loss for consumers. - Incumbents are still dominant, with most markets showing little foreign presence. Barriers to entry persist in many national retail markets, thus hampering retail competition and consumer choice. - Regulated retail prices (which can disengage consumers from switching and, if set below costs, can act as a barrier to entry) are still prominent (49% of household electricity customers and 46% in gas were still being supplied under regulated prices).
Main findings on the Wholesale Market - Market coupling (merging trading activities from several power exchanges) has facilitated price convergence, and electricity trading within the same day has made renewables’ integration into the market easier. - There is significant scope for further price convergence. - The advantages brought about by the single market, such as lower wholesale electricity prices, still need to translate into benefits for final consumers. - In spite of increasing hub indexation, EU gas and oil prices were still correlated in 2012, EU gas hub prices are correlated, albeit not all the time. - Smart metering is being (or will be) rolled out in more than half the Member States.
Main findings on Consumer Protection and Empowerment - Definitions and conditions for universal service applied vary widely. - Most countries have designated suppliers of last resort (24 electricity, 21 gas). - There has been progress in shortening the time it takes for consumers to switch suppliers. The three week period for switching applies in electricity for most (23) Member States, less so for gas (18). - Most countries have independent dispute settlement mechanisms in place (25 electricity, 20 gas). - Most countries have a single point of contact (23 electricity, 22 gas). - Measures to protect vulnerable customers also vary widely across European countries.
By switching suppliers, consumers can get better deals. But consumers in the EU don’t seem to take full advantage of this opportunity.
What’s next? CEER is at the forefront of efforts to protect and empower energy customers, championing the development of competitive energy markets in the public interest, with sound and independent regulation. Our 2014 Work Programme is very much consumer focused.
Public Consultations & Events
• Regulatory and Market Aspects of Demand-Side Flexibility (Closing 20/12/2013) Visit our websiteto be updated on our future consultationsandevents.
Press Releases • ACER-CEER Press Release: Consumers still to benefit from energy market integration in the EU (28 November 2013) • CEER-MEDREG Press Release: CEER-MEDREG roundtable lays the foundations for further energy regulatory cooperation (20 November 2013)
The first CEER-MEDREG Roundtable (19 November in Grasse, France) addressed regulatory challenges and the development of infrastructural investments in the energy sector of the Euro-Mediterranean region.