Definitions of vulnerable customers, default supplier and supplier of last resort - European Status Review. Christina Veigl-Guthann, Chair of ERGEG Customer Empowerment Task Force Citizens’ Energy Forum, London, 29-30 September 2009. Background.
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Definitions of vulnerable customers, default supplier and supplier of last resort - European Status Review
Chair of ERGEG Customer Empowerment Task Force
Citizens’ Energy Forum, London,
29-30 September 2009
The European Commission stressed the importance of final customers´ rights at the First Citizens’ Energy Forum in London 2008.
The Forum requested an overview of the situation regarding customers’ rights issues covering:
ERGEG carried out a status review: questionnaires were answered by NRAs from 25 Member States plus Croatia and Norway for electricity and 25 countries for gas
Consumer protection mechanisms may be designed in different ways:
General support system (social network):
Support systems within the energy sector: 10 MS
EU directives mention the term “vulnerable customer”, although it is not defined.
In 8 out of 27 countries (~30%) the term “vulnerable customer” is commonly known or used.
Main target groups for economic support systems are:
7 countries (electricity)
8 countries (gas)
All households with a defined low income
3 countries (electricity)
2 countries (gas)
Elderly people (with a defined low income)
2 countries (electricity)
1 country (gas)
Families with children (and a defined low income)
4 countries (electricity)
3 countries (gas)
Disabled persons (with a defined low income)
Other means may be:
Heating aids (A), trust funds and cold weather payments (UK), government subsidy (IE), financial benefits for heating (RO),…
NRAs do not have data on how many people/households qualify and receive support Not within NRA`s competence
Nearly all countries have a
mandatory, economic support system
outside the energy system
General social systems
Support system outside energy system does not exist
Support system outside energy system exists
Most common means for non-economic support:
protection against disconnection: about 60% of all countries
Other non-economic support schemes:
The term is not mentioned in the directives
In less than half of the countries, a
definition of default supplier is in use:
Term not used
Default Supplier in use for the following situations:
For countries which have a definition, it is most common that the default supplier is activated when the customer is passive or when the customer cannot find a supplier on the market.
Barrier for market entry for new suppliers. This is not an ideal situation if competition amongst suppliers should be promoted and enhanced.
In use in 20 countries (electricity):
The definition of supplier of last resort applies in most countrieswhen a supplier goes bankrupt.
Barrier for market entry for new suppliers; This is not an ideal situation if competition amongst suppliers should be promoted and enhanced.
Thank you for your attention!
Mark your diary for the World Forum on Energy Regulation IV
October 18-21, 2009