Utilities' disclosure requirement a key element of power market liberalisation in the EU

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A requirement on all electricity suppliers to disclose to final customers the fuel mix of their electricity supply and the associated waste and emissions is a key element of power market liberalisation in the EU. The European Parliament last month voted to adopt the Commission's proposal to complete fully the liberalisation of Europe's energy markets. Green members of the parliament (MEPs) claim the disclosure requirement is a "giant step forward" which shifts the balance of power away from large utilities in favour of small consumers and the environment. By requiring companies to show consumers on their bills and in advertising the sources and pollutants involved in producing their power, the parliament has given consumers the opportunity to make informed decisions about their choice of electricity supplier, say the Greens. The directive also bans nuclear power companies from using decommissioning funds for any other activity -- such as funding of predatory activity in the electricity market. "While agreeing to the further opening of the market, the parliament has taken the necessary steps to establish clear rules to protect and inform small consumers and to eliminate distortions favouring big companies," says Green MEP and the directive's "rapporteur" in parliament, Claude Turmes. The electricity industry, however, is opposed to the requirement, which it says will be costly to comply with.

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