Simple, cheap and fair: EURELECTRIC sets vision for electricity customers

News Article

On the occasion of the EU Energy Council, which sees energy Ministers debate retail market design principles, EURELECTRIC today publishes a vision brochure on how to place the customer at the heart of the electricity system.

Titled “The Customer in Command – The smart energy system of the future,” the brochure considers fundamental changes that are sweeping across the downstream part of the electricity value chain, right at the junction between the electricity distribution network and retail electricity markets. “In practically every industry, disruptive technologies are giving customers more options and enabling them to take more control of their lives. The energy sector is no different. As an industry, we can and must play a key role in supporting the European Commission’s new deal for energy customers. To do this, we must put customers at the heart of everything we do and develop innovative solutions that allow them much more control over when, how and at what price they use electricity,” Pat O’Doherty, EURELECTRIC’s Issue Manager Downstream Market Design and CEO of Ireland’s ESB commented.

Customer choice is central to this revolution. Following the (illustrative) journeys of Jane and John – two customers with very different needs from the electricity system – the brochure presents examples of how customers will be able to choose from a range of new competitive downstream services such as distributed generation, demand-side response or distributed storage.

“It is critical that the customer experience of these services is made as simple and cheap as possible. Equally important, the cost of the overall electricity system must be kept affordable and fair to all customers, especially those who cannot or wish not to avail of these new services,” Mr O’Doherty said. “What role do we foresee for the electricity utility industry in all of this? Well, we believe that our sector will be the key facilitator of this change!” he continued. Distribution system operators have a key enabling role in this by delivering a safe, reliable and increasingly smart electricity network for all customers. A diverse range of energy services companies and retailers will offer competitive energy and energy-related products to customers. “Jane and John do not need to be aware of any of this: it is the industry’s role to make everything seamless and convenient for them,” Mr O’Doherty concluded.

The publication of the brochure concludes a process which started more than a year ago in EURELECTRIC to facilitate a major policy debate among its members in the electricity sector on key roles, responsibilities and principles necessary to enable tomorrow’s customer centric smart electricity system.

The publication presents three actions – make it Simple, make it Cheap, make it Fair – and a total of nine policy recommendations to allow downstream innovation to flourish and deliver enhanced choice and value for customers.