Energy regulators's strategy to strengthen the position of consumers welcomed by EU Consumer body, BEUC
London, 12 March2015
• CEER’s consumer-centred IEM work complements Commission’s Energy Union’s plans for “new deal for energy consumers” • BEUC endorses CEER’s strategy to strengthen the voice of consumers • Industry needs to help build consumer trust in the market
A consumer-centred Energy Union1 and consumers’ central role in retail markets topped the agenda of the 7th Citizens’ Energy (London) Forum2, opened today by EU Commissioner for Energy, Mr Arias Cañete.
CEER’s consumer-centred IEM work complements Commission’s Energy Union’s plans for “new deal for energy consumers”
CEER3 has an ambitious strategy to strengthen the position of the customer in the EU Internal Energy Market. Today, CEER published: - CEER’s Action Plan4 (2015-2017) on what regulators are doing to implement the 2020 Vision for Europe’s Energy Customers5 - CEER Advice on How to Involve and Engage Consumer Organisations in the Regulatory Process6
CEER President, Lord Mogg, pointed to CEER’s work on retail markets:
“Besides customer rights, a main focus of CEER’s work is on retail markets. Concretely, we are working on criteria for well-functioning retail markets, on removing barriers to market entry and to supplier switching. As part of this work, we plan to consider the extent to which the absence of national/EU standards for data management limits entry in the context of other barriers.”
CEER will publish (later this month) advice on customer data management7.
BEUC endorses CEER’s strategy to strengthen the voice of consumers
Welcoming CEER’s advice on how to involve and engage consumer organisations in the regulatory Process”, Director of BEUC (the EU Consumer Body), Monique Goyens said:
“National energy regulators play a key role in making Europe’s energy markets work for consumers. We agree with Europe’s energy regulators that involving consumer groups in the regulatory process can lead to better outcomes. It is reassuring that the Council of European Energy Regulators is advising its members to cooperate closely with national consumer groups. This comes after constructive work at European level on many pressing consumer concerns.”
Industry needs to help build consumer trust in the market
CEER President, Lord Mogg, recalled the centrality of the four RASP principles (Reliability, Affordability, Simplicity and Protection & Empowerment) which place consumers at the heart of EU energy policy. He encouraged industry to embed the RASP principles across the energy chain and to adopt CEER advice (on issues such as distribution service standards8 and the disclosure of sources of electricity9) as to improve the consumer experience.
Lord Mogg said “When consumers trust in the market, they will engage in the market”.
Notes for Editors:
The Commission’s Energy Union package (COM (2015) 80) published on 25 February 2015 sets out the Commission’s vision of an Energy Union (see Commission’s Fact Sheet on the Energy Union). One of its 15 actions points relates to retail energy markets and explicitly a “New Deal for energy consumers: empowering consumer, deploying Demand Side Response; using smart technology; linking whole and retail markets; phase-out of regulated prices; flanking social policy measures to protect vulnerable customers”. Regulators welcome the Energy Union package and its overall goals (see joint ACER-CEER press release 25 February 2015).
The European Commission established the Citizens’ Energy Forum (London Forum) in October 2008. The 7th London Forum meeting takes place from 12-13 March 2015 in London. The participants of the London Forum are energy regulators (CEER and ACER0, the European Commission, national Ministries, consumer bodies, Ombudsmen and the energy industry. The London Forum is akin to the EU regulatory forum for electricity (Florence Forum) or for gas (Madrid Forum) but has a focus on consumer and retail energy market issues.
The Council of European Energy Regulatory (CEER) is the voice of Europe’s national energy regulators. Its members and observers are the independent statutory bodies responsible for energy regulation at national level. Visit www.ceer.eu.
The CEER Action Plan (2015-2017), published today, sets out: (1) work done by CEER to promote the 2020 Customer Vision - issues such as smart metering, price comparison tools, distribution services, demand-side flexibility, our CEER Advice on Customer information regarding the sources of electricity; CEER has deepened our analysis of customer issues in the joint ACER-CEER Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Natural Gas Markets (the key findings for the 2014 MMR were presented by ACER at the 7th London Forum); and (2) what CEER is working on now (e.g. retail markets, and the evolving role of Distribution System Operators) and in the future to implement the 2020 Customer Vision. The Action Plan builds on commitments regulators made in the ACER “Energy Regulation: A Bridge to 2025 – Conclusions Paper” such as establishing common criteria for well-functioning retail markets; determining minimum standards to remove market barriers; developing guidance to facilitate the phasing out of regulated end-user prices; developing a toolbox of good practices to encourage and empower customers, developing a roadmap to enable switching within 24-hours by the year 2025.
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. In addition to the European Commission, 17 key energy stakeholders have declared their support for the Vision. The 2014 CEER report on implementation of the 2020 Vision by its supporters shows that implementing the RASP principles provides added value, particularly to increasing customers’ awareness of and trust in the energy market.
CEER committed in its three-year rolling action plan to delivering advice on data management because the handling and use of consumer data is important to effective functioning of retail energy markets and consumer protection. The soon-to-be-published CEER customer data management advice takes account of responses to a consultation document (published in spring 2014) and a public hearing (held in September 2014). The forthcoming paper will be a basis for CEER’s data management (and privacy) views going forward.
CEER’s Advice on Customer Information on Sources of Electricity presents recommendations on how to make the system for disclosing how electricity has been produced more coherent, reliable and transparent, so that customers can make decisions based on information they can trust. The recommendations aim to empower electricity customers by providing them with adequate, reliable and consistent information and by developing a reliable, trustworthy and transparent disclosure system. Furthermore, the recommendations aim to push forward the integration of the European electricity market.
Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) www.ceer.eu