Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers (Communication)
Consumers and their central and proactive role in energy markets are the main focus of the EESC's opinion 'Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers'. The EESC agrees with the Commission on the need to put the "consumer at the core of the Energy Union" – however in order for consumers to participate actively in the energy market they need access to smart technologies, information, training, and finance. Consumers should have the freedom to play an active role in the energy system by having the right to choose and switch easily between both energy producers and distributors. Moreover, consumers should be given the opportunity to become "prosumers" – i.e. also produce and sell energy if the appropriate infrastructure, know-how and a regulatory environment are put in place - thus opening up completely new business opportunities. The EESC opinion points out that giving consumers more rights and opportunities comes with increased responsibilities for them, too. These responsibilities cannot be imposed but must be learned and developed in practice by all stakeholders. The opinion reiterates previous opinions in that the growing social problem of energy poverty needs to be addressed by means of appropriate social policy measures.