There could be cheaper energy on the way for millions in Europe. Ministers have agreed the final touches on a plan aimed at driving down prices by boosting competition in the EU energy market.
The European Commission proposed that national energy giants would have to split the production and distribution networks of their companies into separate entities.
11 countries in the EU including Britain, Spain, Denmark and Netherlands have already made the split.
But opposition to the move was led by Germany, home to the powerful EON and RWE providers; and France which is powered by EDF and GDF.
Ministers accepted their assertion that it was possible for production and distribution to become independent of each other without completely cutting ties to the parent company.
Brussels has long suspected that some energy providers have been denying competitors access to the power lines which end up in homes, thus stifling market forces.
The liberalisation plans now need approval from the European Parliament.