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Updated : 16/06/2017

Access to and use of energy services

Electricity connection

In the EU you have the right to have your home connected to the local electricity network and be supplied with electricity (the same does not apply to gas). The connection is provided by the network operator designated to operate the energy infrastructure in your local area (each local network has only one designated operator).

To find out exactly what the terms, conditions and tariffs for such connections are, check with your National Regulatory Authority.

This body also has to monitor that the local network operators ensure that the local infrastructures function properly.

Sample story

Jack moved to a remote part of the Scottish countryside and wanted to get an electricity connection in his new house there. After several companies had told him their networks didn't cover his area, he finally found out through the National Regulatory Authority who the service provider was in Scotland. He contacted this company, which connected him to the electricity network.

Vulnerable consumers

If you are in a vulnerable situation (e.g. the adequate infrastructure is lacking or you are unable to pay your energy bills) you cannot be disconnected from the electricity network, and you may be entitled to benefits to ensure you get the necessary electricity supply. The Single Point of Contact in the country where you live will explain to you when and/or if you are entitled to such support and what measures have been taken to help you.

Read more about aenergy poverty and vulnerable consumers.

Choice of energy supplier

In the EU you are free to choose your energy supplier from the full range of EU electricity or gas suppliers offering their services in your area.

You can choose an electricity or gas supplier registered in another Member State, provided that the supplier also offers services in your area and agrees a contract with you.

You should make the distinction between an EU supplier and a network operator. You may choose the supplier but not the network operator in your area. The network operator cannot itself offer energy supplies. Sometimes the network operator is part of a larger company which does offer energy supplies. However in such a case, the network operator must have a separate visual identity in order not to create confusion with the separate company offering the supplies.

Switch of energy supplier

If you decide to change your gas or electricity supplier you will not be charged for the change. The network operator in your area must make the change within 3 weeks, provided you respect the terms and conditions of the original contract (e.g. notice period, agreed minimum duration of the contract). Suppliers are not allowed to impose disproportionate obligations that would prevent consumers from switching.

No later than 6 weeks after you switch, you should receive the final closure statement/bill from your previous supplier.

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