In addition to the general consumer rights guaranteed in EU legislation, since the opening up of the energy supply market the EU has defined a set of rights that all EU citizens enjoy as energy consumers. Their aim is to help get a better deal, and to track and manage the energy use.
Your rights as an energy consumer have to be clearly set out in the national laws of your country and must reflect provisions in EU legislation. On that basis, the national legislation must guarantee you the right to:
- An electricity connection: have your home connected to the local electricity network and supplied with electricity.
- A choice of supplier: choose your supplier and enter into contract with any EU electricity and/or gas supplier offering services to you
- An easy and fast switch of supplier: change your electricity and/or gas supplier in an easy and quick way, without extra charges.
- Clear contract information and right of withdrawal: receive clear information on your energy contract before signing, and an advance notice if any changes are made to the contract, with the possibility to end the contract if you do not accept the new conditions. You also have the right to withdraw from a new contract within fourteen days if the contract was concluded outside the supplier's business premises or by distance means of communication (such as Internet or telephone).
- Accurate information on your consumption and billing based on it: have access to accurate information on your consumption of electricity and/or gas in order to regulate your energy consumption, and be billed based on actual consumption.
- Information on how to use energy more efficiently and on the benefits of using energy from renewable sources: be properly informed on the benefits of using equipment and vehicles using renewable energy and be properly informed on how much energy you use and how to use energy more efficiently.
- Specific consumer protection measures, if you are a 'vulnerable' customer: receive adequate safeguards, if you are defined as a 'vulnerable customer' by relevant national rules.
- Easy resolution of complaints and disputes: file a complaint to your gas or electricity supplier and, in the event your complaint is not managed to your satisfaction, send your complaint to an independent body for an inexpensive, prompt and fair out-of-court settlement.
- An energy performance certificate for your home: receive information about the energy efficiency of the property you wish to buy or rent.
- A national contact point for energy: contact a single point in your country where you can find more information on these rights.
Your rights as an energy consumer in the EU have to be set out in the national laws of your country. National regulatory authorities have a duty to help ensure that consumer rights are respected, and that consumers are protected in line with EU law.
The Commission is working on expanding these basic rights to allow consumers to actively participate in the energy market. In the future energy consumers in the EU should be able to:
- produce, store and consume or resell self-generated electricity to the grid
- request a smart meter
- have the option of choosing a dynamic electricity supply price contract
- have access to at least one certified price comparison tool meeting minimum standards
- enter a contractual relationship with an aggregator without supplier's consent
- participate in a local energy community
- Single point of contact
- National regulatory authority
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Price comparison tool
For additional information on your consumer rights, please consult Your Europe or the consumer associations in your country.
Citizens' Energy Forum
The European Commission has also established a Citizens' Energy Forum to help create competitive, energy-efficient and fair retail markets for consumers. It covers topics such as vulnerable consumers, price transparency, and consumers as energy market agents.