Europe’s energy industry is to undergo a major shake-up according to proposals adopted by the EU’s executive, the European Commission. The changes, which could be imposed on the bloc’s dominant energy giants, are designed to lead to cheaper energy prices via increased competition.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “I believe that it is time to end energy prices by postcodes. If you look at the results of our investigation, then it shows the differences and how much the markets in Europe are now effectively protected. You find very, very astonishing results. That confirms that the current situation cannot stay as it is”.
The proposals mean that businesses which generate power will have to separate from their distribution networks, but this won’t be a chance for foreign companies to buy up European pipelines. “We need to place tough conditions on ownership of assets by non-European companies to make sure that we all play by the same rules. It is very important,” said Barroso.
But, to get agreement, the Commission is offering EU states the choice of whether to force a sell-off of the distribution sectors or merely to hand over control to an independent operator.