Flexible electricity offers likely to benefit consumers, but require careful attention by regulators

BEUC NEWS - 16.10.2019

Last week, BEUC set up a workshop involving some of the first companies in Europe to offer flexible electricity services to consumers. Flexible electricity consumption is where a household limits its energy consumption at certain times of the day because it is more expensive, or devolves that control to a company called an aggregator which does it for groups of households at a time. This limits pressure on the electricity grid at peak times and can save consumers money.

 

Two consumer groups from the BEUC network – Citizens Advice (UK) and Test Achats/Test Aankoop (Belgium) – presented their work in this area of the energy market, while European Commission representatives and regulators were on hand to give their impressions.

The workshop’s participants agreed that this initial dialogue between companies, consumer groups and regulators must continue. Because this is a rapidly evolving area, products and services are constantly changing and legislators and regulators have to keep an eye on the latest practices on the market and check whether they are well-designed for consumers.

Energy companies like Jedlix from the Netherlands or Octopus Energy from the UK, stressed that there were lots of benefits for consumers and the system and that offers will constantly improve and adapt to new realities and consumer wishes.

Consumer groups stressed the importance of privacy and data protection, whether the information consumers will receive will be good enough to take an informed decision, whether they will be rewarded enough for their action or whether the most vulnerable in society will end up paying more than their fair share.