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New deal for energy consumers

Posted by Nick Prag at 16 July 2015, 16:50 CET |
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Apart from Greece, a better deal for energy consumers was the theme of the week, as the Commission presented proposals aimed at delivering a new deal for energy consumers. These included a redesign of the European electricity market, updating energy efficiency labelling, and revising the EU Emissions Trading System.

Reform of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) - Europe's flagship tool for tackling climate change - forms a major part of the package.

The Commission says the proposals offer a more targeted approach aimed at safeguarding the competitiveness of industry sectors which are at greatest risk of seeing production relocated outside the EU, to less 'greenhouse gas constrained' jurisdictions, as well as in pushing energy investment toward innovative and cleaner alternatives.

Others, such as the WWF, say the proposal "fails to show how the EU ETS will ensure that Europe's largest polluters pay a meaningful price for their carbon pollution."

For consumers, the Commission has proposed revision of energy efficiency labels, making them less complex and easier to understand. Better information would in theory help them save money and energy, allow them to compare prices and switch providers if they find a better deal elsewhere.

The Communication on a 'new energy market design' - the set of arrangements which govern how market actors generate, trade, supply and consume electricity and use the electricity infrastructure - offers hope for a fundamental transformation of Europe's electricity system.

Taken as a whole, the Commission hopes the package sends a powerful signal to the international community in the run-up to the Paris climate summit this autumn.

The hope is that it reflects the EU's determination to move to a low-carbon economy, and marks an important step towards enshrining the EU's target of at least 40% emissions cut by 2030 into law.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.