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Over 200 million electricity customers are on for a smooth energy transition thanks to the commitment of 92 European electricity organisations. Their “15 pledges to customers” unveiled on 4 March in the presence of top utilities, the European consumer association, the EU Commission and Parliament put customers in the driving seat of the energy transition.
Consumers hold the key to the energy transition. They will make or break electrification by adopting (or not) new habits in favour of decarbonised electric options such as e-mobility, e-heating and cooling. Only with them can Europe reach the 60% electrification of all energy demand, needed for a net zero Europe.
According to Wytse Kaastra, Accenture’s Managing Director Energy Consumer Services for Europe, consumers have already started the shift towards clean and energy efficient solutions. As such uptakes increase, markets and policies will also move in the right direction.
Wytse Kaastra - Accenture Managing Director Energy Consumer Services for Europe, Sanda Tuzlic - Accenture Energy Retail group
Magnus Hall, President of Eurelectric, echoed the need for more synergies between customers and industry:
“It is up to us, the industry, not to leave anyone behind and to enable customers to feel empowered in this process. But we cannot do this alone.”
Magnus Hall, Eurelectric President
“If we don’t engage customers, the good intentions will not materialise. As suppliers drive this change, we should continuously ask consumers how they expect us to tackle this challenge.” said Antonio Coutinho, Chair of Eurelectric’s Customers and Retail Services Committee.
The acceleration of decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation turns challenges into opportunities. Innovative solutions, tailored to the needs of a variety of consumers, emerge every day. In Finland, for instance, citizens can now rent solar panels from a power plant. The generated electricity will be deducted from the bill at the end of the month.
But according to Monique Goyens - Director General of BEUC, the Brussels-based consumer organisation:
"With more innovation, we will have more complex markets and more difficulties for consumers to navigate."
António Coutinho - Chair of Eurelectric Customers and Retail Services Committee, Monique Goyens - Director General of BEUC, Anne Vadasz Nilsson - Vice President of the Council of European Energy Regulators
Electricity suppliers therefore commit to empower customers by developing user-friendly products and services, and by providing personalised advice. Transparency, simplicity and affordability will be at the core of this relationship.
Giving the means
“The time of fossil fuels is over. We need to speed up the increase of renewables to reach our decarbonisation goals.” said Jutta Paulus, Member of the European Parliament.
The lack of financing remains, nevertheless, a strong impediment for customers’ uptake of decarbonised solutions. The taxes and levies imposed on the electricity bill urgently need to be tackled.
“Vulnerable customers consume more because they don’t have the means to do better. By addressing this issue, the Commission can improve the economics of these technologies and respond to other market needs.” - Anne Vadasz Nilsson,Vice President of the Council of European Energy Regulators
Jutta Paulus, Member of the European Parliament
The “15 pledges to customers” and the study “Seeking shared success: Empowering consumers in the energy transition” were released on 4 March in Brussels. The launching event and debate were organised by Eurelectric, with support from its sponsors, Accenture and EDP.