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Consumers (14-11-2012)

Energy companies and consumers have a lot to gain from transparency

London, 5 th Consumers' Energy Forum - The Commission presented today a report to enhance transparency of electricity and gas markets, in order to help consumers strike best possible energy deals. A recent study revealed that less than 50% of EU consumers are aware of how much energy they use or how much they pay per energy unit. If they had a better grasp of their energy consumption and had the necessary information to switch to the cheapest energy tariffs in national markets, they could save a total of 13 billion euro across the EU.

Against this challenging background, the Commission worked together with consumers, regulators and industry to produce the Energy Transparency Report. It promotes best practices from several Member States, on how to efficiently inform consumers about energy offers, contracts and prices, and also recommends how to help consumers compare and verify energy-related commercial claims.

Among these best practices, we find that in the Netherlands, the same price components appear in the offer, the contract and the bill. This helps consumers understand how much energy they use and how much they pay per energy unit. It also helps them compare retailers' offers. In Italy, the National Energy Regulatory Authority has recently launched an awareness campaign in the public transportation about cutting energy costs. In Czech Republic, communication campaigns on efficient energy use are organised by energy companies. Adults as well as children and university students are targeted by these campaigns. By sharing these best practices at European level, the report can contribute to bridging gaps between energy companies offering good deals and consumers looking for them.

This report can also provide a practical angle to Member State authorities, regulators and ministries as they implement the energy legislation.

What is the Citizens' Energy Forum?

The Citizens' Energy Forum is an annual event bringing together European and national policy-makers and representatives from consumer organisations, regulators and industry to assess progress in energy and consumer market legislation and the challenges ahead.