A European charter of energy consumers’ rights will be launched tomorrow in a bid to encourage consumers to switch energy suppliers, in a Europe-wide move designed to cut prices – but Malta will not be backed by the charter.
Industry and households throughout Europe will be making savings of EUR60 million a year after the EU’s domestic energy supply market was opened on Monday for full-scale competition.
But Maltese consumers still cannot choose their energy supplier, and is one of the four member states – along with Cyprus, Estonia, and Finland – not to be backed by the European charter.
The European Commissioner responsible for energy wants to make switching between suppliers easy and create a genuine single EU market for energy by 2009. In September, Andris Piebalgs will publish proposals for the most contentious measure of liberalisation – “unbundling” integrated corporations which provide both transmission and distribution networks, or see them policed independently.
Since 1 July, all European citizens have been able to freely choose their electricity and gas supplier, as this was the final date for the full opening of the electricity and gas markets in the EU.
There are a few exceptions to take account of special circumstances where it is not possible to introduce competition.
“I encourage European consumers to take advantage of their freedom to choose their energy suppliers. A functioning EU energy market can only be obtained if consumers participate in the market actively,” Piebalgs said.