On May 26, 2016 he European Parliament called  for specific measures to encourage renewable self-generation and consumption in a report on ‘Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers’. Last July  the EU Commission published a communication “Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers”, on the role of consumers in the Energy Union. This argues that retail energy markets in the EU have not kept up with broader transformations in the energy sector and need to be improved so that consumers can play a more active role and benefit more fully from the single market, renewable energies and new technologies. At its recent session the Parliament voted for an own-initiative resolution concerning the ‘New Deal’ highlighting the ongoing transition towards an energy system that is more decentralized, energy-efficient, flexible and largely renewables-based. It makes a series of recommendations on how to move towards an energy market that benefits citizens, addresses the causes of energy poverty, empowers them to take ownership of the energy transition, produce their own renewable energy and become energy-efficient.  Among other things it recommends the establishment of guidelines and new platforms for price-comparison tools, supports an EU definition of energy ‘prosumers’ as well as the basic right to self-generation/consumption, and advocates the promotion of collective switching schemes. The report calls for enhanced coordination at EU level to combat energy poverty by sharing of best practices among Member States, developing a common definition of energy poverty and focusing on the idea that access to affordable energy is a basic social right.

(Photo courtesy Baxi: happy FC customer in Hamburg)