This contribution acknowledges that the "household electricity customer" is an increasingly heterogenous group of energy consumers, consisting of 'vulnerable customers', 'energy poor customers', 'prosumers' or 'active consumers', which may or may not organize themselves in 'local energy communities' to jointly strive for more and better renewable energy generation and consumption.
New legislative proposals of the European Commission in the EU Winter Package recognize various groups, but the Commission does not always offer clear definitions of or perspectives on who these people actually are, what they need or want, and/or how they may practically reap the benefits proposed by the Package's 'New Market Design'. Moreover, the Package presently seems to articulate some competing objectives for the 'New Deal, advocating on the one hand competition-driven liberalized electricity markets and 'reasonable' (rather than 'affordable') prizes for consumers, whilst, on the other hand, speaking of 'value-oriented' or 'non-profit' renewable energy generation and consumption or an 'Energy Union with citizens at its core', including better protection for 'vulnerable' or 'energy poor' customers.
This article investigates the current and proposed position of various household consumers in EU energy law, especially acknowledging that the 'new market design' should in the future reward more active, flexible, decentralized household consumption, including generating and consuming electricity supply on personal premises. or through a 'local energy community'.
After discussing (the classification of) different types of household customers, we argue that in going forward with the new proposals it will be very important to define the obstacles faced by various (energy) poor or vulnerable household customers especially, for they may need additional support to navigate or respond to the ever larger set of options for (more flexible) energy consumption. In fact, active participation in the market by groups with lower incomes, lower education, or living in poorer housing conditions, should be stimulated as an important opportunity to tackle energy poverty, but may need a range of additional and targetted support measures, including support to access (smart) technologies, access to information and education, and/or other measures in and around the home in relation to efficiency, cost reductions, income supplements, housing situation etc.
Without a clear perspective on who the EU's (energy poor) 'household customers' are, and which obstacles they face in 'taking ownership of the energy transition, benefitting from new technologies to reduce their bills or participating actively in the market', there is a real risk that the rift between the energy-haves and energy-have nots may only become bigger or more pronounced, despite a clear intention in the Winter Package to counter such trends and design an inclusive Energy Union.
|Vertaalde titel van de bijdrage||The Position of the Household Consumer in the EU Winter Package: Between Participation and Protection|
|Tijdschrift||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Energierecht|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||1/2|
|Status||Published - 2018|