New rules providing more accurate and transparent energy bills for consumers entered into force across the European Union at the end of October. The most important new provisions relate to obligations for more accurate and frequent metering of the consumed energy, as well as more transparent billing and access to relevant information.
The new provisions are a result of the Council for European Energy Regulators‘ (CEER) and the European Consumer Organisation’s (BEUC) aim to reach an advanced use of energy, long-term energy transition for sustainability and climate neutrality through six pillars: affordability, simplicity, protection, inclusiveness, reliability and empowerment.
The expected results of the amending Directive on Energy Efficiency include the following main changes as well: final users and households will have free of charge access to their bills and actual energy consumption; for households in multi-apartment buildings, clear rules and technical means will ensure the transparent allocation of the cost for heating, cooling and domestic hot water.
Furthermore, for all energy users, information about costs, taxes, own energy profile and environmental impact of the energy they use will be clearly and easily available. As a result, another progress will be that newly installed heating, cooling and domestic hot water meters and heat cost allocators are going to be devices that can be remotely read for easier data access.
“I welcome these changes,” said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. “It is a step forward to enabling EU consumers to take better decisions regarding their energy use and to incentivise energy efficiency measures in the areas of heating, cooling and domestic hot water. They reflect the priority that policymakers gave to putting consumers at the heart of the energy transition during the negotiations on the clean energy for all Europeans package.”
Both the CEER and the BEUC imagine a future where consumers understand the environmental impacts of their own energy use and are provided with clear and reliable information and tools, allowing them to make sustainable choices and to contribute to efficient energy markets. Even green transition policies should be helpful to reduce the consumers’ carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency.
For the energy transition to be successful consumers will need to be informed and supported by energy authorities and services throughout this transformation, that is why also experts from the Hungarian Energy and Utilities Regulatory Authority (MEKH) attended CEER’s conference where the 2030 Vision was introduced.
“Consumers need simple, easily accessible and comparable information and need to be provided with general and sector-specific legal protection, including regulatory and alternative dispute resolution and protection against unlawful or unfair data processing,” highlighted experts from MEKH.
Another great advantage of the Vision is that it sets out how to address the issue of the poorest and most vulnerable consumers. It includes, for example, efforts to reduce the digital divide.