02 April 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting European countries hard, the absolute priority is to treat patients and contain the virus. At the same time, governments have started taking measures to rebuild their economies. It is important that this happens while being mindful of another crisis affecting people and the planet: the climate crisis.
11 December 2019
Today, the European Commission will present its European Green Deal – the EU’s plans to take action against climate change. The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) strongly believes that policies to fight climate change must reflect the reality of consumers’ everyday lives as a starting point.
04 December 2019
‘Innovation’ has become a buzzword in Brussels. Defined as “the introduction of new ideas or methods”, innovation holds many promises for consumers. But it is a means, not an end, and it is not always beneficial. The BEUC view on innovation in the EU is detailed in a new paper titled ‘When innovation means progress’.
Our work areas
Despite many attempts for improvement, the energy market is still a sector of great concern to European consumers as it has many failures: there is concern over complex tariffs, rising prices, poor service or mis-selling, the difficulty of switching and confusion over what consumers can do to lower their bills, including how to be energy efficient.
Access to affordable energy is a real worry for consumers, particularly for vulnerable groups such as those with a low income. Despite the opening of the markets, competition remains limited, restricting consumer choice and driving up prices. Unfair commercial practices such as aggressive doorstep-selling are another source of consumer frustration in the energy market.
‘Smart technologies’ such as smart meters are heralded as the future and they are claimed to offer benefits to consumers. Yet they raise numerous questions about their true potential to deliver real benefits to consumers, as well as risks related to privacy and cost increases.
- Ensure energy is affordable and available to all consumers
- Enable consumers to easily choose between various energy suppliers and switch to the best deal
- Ensure that smart energy systems and other new developments are affordable and designed to benefit consumers