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Brussels, 29 September 2009

Citizens' Energy Forum: EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva open Energy Forum in London to improve services to consumers

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva opened today in London the second meeting of Citizens' Energy Forum. The Forum is a platform for implementing and enforcing consumer rights on the energy market across the EU. The aim of the Forum is to tackle consumers' problems and propose practical solutions and improve regulatory conditions in the final consumer's markets. The Forum is organised by the European Commission and brings together consumer associations, industry, national regulators, and national government authorities to work on key issues such as billing, smart metering or protecting vulnerable consumers.

“Energy is at the heart of our economic and social well-being. The Commission wants to promote competition in electricity and gas markets to maximise consumers' choice and satisfaction and continue to contribute to economic growth and jobs. Given increases in energy costs and the recent events in global financial markets, it is essential that we work closely together to promote the interests of consumers. We need to deliver real results that make a difference," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

"A gas or electricity bill should be the best indicator of energy consumption for the average consumer, the bills must be simple, accurate and allow comparisons between providers. Accurate billing is an important issue for consumers. Energy companies are invited to make their bills better understandable, more frequent and based on actual consumption," said EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva.

The Citizens’ Energy Forum is created to help consumers to enforce their existing EU-wide rights and to provide them with clear, straightforward information on what choices are available to them when it comes to buying their gas and electricity. As well as providing practical assistance to consumers now, the Forum is also anticipating future changes in energy markets. This year new technologies such as smart metering were debated in-depth. The new technology will improve consumers' participation in the market, the accuracy of bills and consumer switching processes.

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