The European Commission has laid down the basis for a charter, to protect the rights of energy users throughout the EU. It is also intended to reassure customers, worried about the possible negative effects of opening up energy markets across Europe.
The EU wants to encourage competition among energy suppliers, in the main, to bring down prices.
The charter, which is due to be signed in December, will lay down a minimum level of service for people having trouble with their bills, thereby avoiding so-called energy poverty.
The charter is also intended to enshrine minimum standards in customers’ contracts – like explaining the supplier’s mark-up, where the energy comes from, and how consumers can complain, cheaply and simply.
It will also give customers the right to change their electricity or gas supplier free-of-charge.
The charter will pull together rules which are currently scattered among three european directives.