Protecting energy consumers
Consumers are at the centre of the EU’s energy policy, and a wide range of initiatives has been taken to make consumers an active part of the clean energy transition and help them save more money and energy.
Protection and rights
By providing consumers with information and offering them options on how they can participate in the energy market, they will be better protected and in a stronger position in the energy supply chain.
All EU citizens enjoy general consumer rights guaranteed in EU legislation, as well as a set of defined energy related rights that have been in force since the opening up of the energy supply market in July 2007.
Energy consumer rights have to be clearly set out in the national laws of EU countries and must reflect provisions in EU legislation. On that basis, the national legislation must for example guarantee consumers the right to:
- an electricity connection so that households are connected to the local electricity
- network and supplied with electricity
- a choice of electricity and gas suppliers as well as an easy and fast switch of suppliers, without extra charges
- clear contract information and the right of withdrawal
- accurate information on the consumption and billing based on it.
The Clean energy for all Europeans package, adopted in May 2019, is a legislative framework that will help accelerate the clean energy transition. The package includes eight legislative files of which four are collectively known as the electricity market design. The new rules outlines a comprehensive framework for consumer protection, information and empowerment in the EU electricity sector, for example
- energy bills will be made clearer and customers will get a summary of key contractual conditions to help them better understand sometimes complex terms and conditions
- providers should give free-of-charge access to at least one energy comparison tool allowing consumers to find the best deal in the market
- to help consumers better control their costs, information in electricity bills will be improved
- Factsheet: Electricity Market Design (January 2019)
- Directive on common rules for the internal market for electricity (EU) 2019/944
- Evaluation of the electricity market design and security of supply (30/11/2016)
- Publication: European energy consumers' rights (26 June 2015)
- Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on “Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers’ (COM(2015) 339 final)
- Communication: A new deal for energy consumers COM(2015)339
- Electricity Directive (2009/72/EC)
- Natural Gas Directive (2009/73/EC)