Friday, July 6, 2007

Towards a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers

If I had to live under EU/EP rule (for they truly believe they are rulers, natural heirs to the Sun King) I would surely lose my mind.

The U.S. Bill of Rights is 482 words from "Amendment I" to "people" in Amendment X.

This press release announcing the proposal of an "Energy Consumers Charter" looks to run to 800 words.

Towards a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers

The Commission has identified four key goals on which the future Charter should be based:

  • more efficient protection of vulnerable citizens;
  • more information to consumers;
  • less paper work when changing supplier;
  • protecting consumers from unfair selling practices.

Consumers’ entitlements under the draft Charter are expected to include:

  • Connection: the right to receive against payment regular and predictable levels of safe and secure electricity and gas services
  • Supply: the right to change electricity and gas supplier free of charge
  • Contracts: the Charter lists the minimum elements that every contract with an energy supplier must include
  • Information: on energy supply, contract conditions, prices and tariffs, energy efficiency measures, and the origin and generation method used for electricity
  • Prices: energy must be made available at reasonable, easily and clearly comparable and transparent prices
  • Social measures: to provide vulnerable citizens with minimum levels of energy services (power, warmth and light) in order to avoid energy poverty
  • Dispute settlement: the right to simple and inexpensive complaint procedures in the event of disputes
  • Unfair commercial practices: these are prohibited under the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive[1].

Next steps

Stakeholders (including consumer representatives, energy regulators, EU Member States and the gas and electricity industry) will be consulted on the proposed elements for a Charter. The Commission will then draft the final document based on their input, which interested parties will sign during a formal ceremony.

This should take place in the beginning of December 2007.