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The internal energy market needs to bring real benefits to consumers
Almost 20 years after the first Directive setting common rules for the internal electricity market, European consumers and businesses do not concretely benefit from such liberalisation process. Though progress has been observed at wholesale level, final consumers still have limited choice to reduce and control their energy bills.
"Consumers need a better access to services that would enable them to become an active part of the power system while reducing their energy costs through demand response and micro-generation", said Ms. Frauke Thies, EPIA Policy Director. "The new Retail Market Initiative should encourage energy consumers to produce sustainable energy for their own needs. Lifting all barriers and developing regulatory frameworks in favour of self-consumption is crucial", she added.
To increase final consumers' benefits, competitiveness in the retail market must be enhanced. While wholesale electricity market prices have declined in Europe in particular thanks to renewables, the energy component of households' electricity bills in Europe however has increased slightly over the last years. To further stimulate competition at retail level, the development of cooperatives and consumer-driven initiatives such as collective switching should also be encouraged.
"Consumers and prosumers can provide flexibility to the energy system if benefits become evident to them. They can do so without any additional effort and while profiting from a stable service quality level, provided they can rely on intermediaries", concluded Ms Thies.
The conference, which gathered more than 100 participants from the EU institutions, the energy sector and the media, included as speakers representatives from CECODHAS, EDORA, GreenEnergyOptions, REScoop, the European Commission, and MEP Judith Merkies.
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