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Brussels, 6 May 2008

EU Presses Forward on the Promotion of European Rights for Energy Consumers

Leading stakeholders from across the EU met today with Consumer Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva, and Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, to reinforce and promote the rights of EU energy consumers. Stakeholders gave their support to the process launched by the Commission to better implement these rights and better inform consumers. The basis for this process will be the Citizens' Energy Forum, building on the measures proposed in the "Third Energy Package".

"There is broad consensus that market mechanisms alone cannot fully ensure consumers' best interests in the energy sector”, said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. "For that reason, the electricity and gas Directives provide for public service obligations and consumer rights. Effective consumer rights are essential to ensure that liberalisation delivers real choice and gives consumers the confidence to switch supplier or renegotiate contracts if they wish to do so. The Citizens Energy Forum will be an invaluable instrument to reach this objective".

Added EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva: "Provided with real choice, consumers have the power to make markets work better." "We need to ensure that consumers' legitimate expectations are met, we need to keep markets and the concrete outcomes for consumers under close watch. The new Citizens' Energy Forum and the Commission's annual Consumer Markets Scoreboard allow us to do just that."

The Conference presented the views expressed by stakeholders on the Commission's communication on Energy Consumer Rights[1] and put forward practical measures to reinforce those rights including the Energy Consumer Checklist, which will provide answers to consumers' questions about their local energy market.

The Third Energy Package will reinforce existing rights by ensuring that all national regulators will be given the same, enhanced role one a wide range of consumer issues, e.g. monitoring household prices, switching rates, disconnection rates and household complaints. Information gleaned from these new roles will feed into the Citizens' Energy Forum where all relevant stakeholders will come together to consider the implementation and application of consumer rights and the dissemination of industry best practices related to these rights.

The Event will be broadcast live - link.

European Commission’s website for energy consumers’ rights - link.
European Commission’s campaign website for energy consumers’ rights and opening of the energy markets – link.

[1] Communication of the Commission  COM(2007) 386 final of 5.7.2007, Towards a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers

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