Universal service
European Union Electricity Market Glossary

 


 

 

Public service obligations from the European Union Energy Package foresee the right of consumers to be connected to the electricity grid as much as the right to be supplied with electricity at an affordable price, which is termed universal service in the Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity (Article 3(3) - see box).

 

Article 3(3) of the Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC

 

Member States shall ensure that all household customers, and, where Member States deem it appropriate, small enterprises (namely enterprises with fewer than 50 occupied persons and an annual turnover or balance sheet not exceeding EUR 10 million), enjoy universal service, that is the right to be supplied with electricity of a specified quality within their territory at reasonable, easily and clearly comparable, transparent and non-discriminatory prices. To ensure the provision of universal service, Member States may appoint a supplier of last resort. Member States shall impose on distribution companies an obligation to connect customers to their network under terms, conditions and tariffs set in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 37(6). Nothing in this Directive shall prevent Member States from strengthening the market position of the household, small and medium-sized consumers by promoting the possibilities of voluntary aggregation of representation for that class of consumers.


The first subparagraph shall be implemented in a transparent and non-discriminatory way and shall not impede the opening of the market provided for in Article 33.


 

The same Directive envisions that suppliers of last resort might be appointed by the EU Member States to ensure the provision of universal service.

 

Despite the fact that the Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC does not foresee universal service, it nonetheless promotes a supply of last resort mechanism for gas consumers.

 

In addition, some EU Member States have introduced default suppliers.

 

Despite being functionally distinct from supply of last resort, they are often addressed together with supply of last resort, since they also secure energy supply to consumers in precarious situations.

 

However, to fully guarantee market liberalisation and consumer protection, neither supply of last resort nor default supply should provide a backdoor to price regulation (ACER/CEER Annual Report on the Results of Monitoring the Internal Electricity and Gas Markets in 2015, Consumer Protection and Empowerment, November 2016, p. 7).

 

 

 

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the internal market for electricity (recast) on common rules for the internal market in electricity (recast), 30.11.2016, COM(2016) 864 final 2016/0380 (COD)

 

Article 27
Universal service

 

1. Member States shall ensure that all household customers, and, where Member States deem it appropriate, small enterprises (namely enterprises with fewer than 50 occupied persons and an annual turnover or balance sheet not exceeding EUR 10 million), enjoy universal service, that is the right to be supplied with electricity of a specified quality within their territory at competitive, easily and clearly comparable, transparent and non-discriminatory prices. To ensure the provision of universal service, Member States may appoint a supplier of last resort. Member States shall impose on distribution companies an obligation to connect customers to their network under terms, conditions and tariffs set in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 59(6). This Directive shall not prevent Member States from strengthening the market position of the household, small and medium-sized consumers by promoting the possibilities of voluntary aggregation of representation for that class of consumers. 



2. The first paragraph 1 shall be implemented in a transparent and non- discriminatory way and shall not impede the free choice of supplier provided for in Article 4.



 

 

 



Last Updated on Friday, 07 April 2017 13:44
 

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