The 8th Citizens’ Energy Forum was held in London on February 23 – 24, 2016. The first edition of the Citizens’ Energy Forum was established by the European Commission in 2007 and since then, the Forum meets on an annual basis in London.
The aim of the Forum is to create competitive, energy-efficient and fair retail markets for consumers. Several Working Groups have been established to focus on issues raised in the Forum, covering topics such as vulnerable consumers, price transparency, and consumers as energy market agents.
In 2016, “the overall aim of the Forum is to explore consumers’ perspective and role in a competitive, ‘smart’, energy-efficient and fair energy retail market. This year’s meeting will in particular discuss the role and situation of consumers in a socially responsible and inclusive Energy Union, and forthcoming Commission proposals on a new market design for retail electricity and gas markets.
The speed at which energy markets are developing is unprecedented, and consumers need a better understanding of how these markets operate. Commission proposals under its Energy Union strategy will seek a market design that delivers a New Deal for energy consumers through their empowerment and improved opportunities for participation in energy markets. One key goal in this respect will be to improve the situation for vulnerable consumers and those facing energy poverty against a backdrop of rising energy bills and stagnating or even falling household incomes. These aims are not new, but our efforts need to be intensified to achieve the optimal outcome for all household consumers.”
The SMART-UP project was presented at the FORUM through the poster, roll-up and the distribution of postcards illustrating the project.
At the Forum the working paper prepared by the Working Group on Vulnerable Consumers (WGVC) was presented at the Forum.
The 2-day Forum ended with the agreement on a “conclusion” paper containing the inputs for the “New Deal for Energy Consumers”. The full document is available on the Forum websites
The Forum calls on the Commission to use in particular the market design initiative to implement the key elements of the “New deal for energy consumers” and bring about greater consumer welfare by widening the choice of offers, strengthening protection and rights, ensuring transparent prices and enabling better consumer control over energy bills.
With regard to energy poverty, the Forum welcomes the recommendations of the Vulnerable Consumer Working Group and calls on the Group to conclude its work by the end of May 2016. The Forum recommends that energy poverty be addressed primarily through targeted measures such as energy efficiency of buildings and appliances (eco-design), in addition to social policy and safeguards against disconnection, avoiding interfering in the market.