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European Commission: Commission publishes report on barriers in EU retail energy markets


A new externally-contracted study on barriers in European retail energy markets has been published by the European Commission this week aimed at identifying remaining retail market hurdles, assessing their significance and suggesting potential ways of overcoming these issues. In global terms, the study comprises a final report, 28 country-specific handbooks (for every Member State except Malta, plus Norway and Great Britain) and a European Barriers Index Ranking report. It follows more than 12 months of exchanges with around 150 suppliers, and relevant national regulatory authorities and other stakeholders.

On the basis of an opening survey with stakeholders and follow-up discussions, the study identifies five top barriers: i) Advantage of vertically-integrated market players; ii) Low customer awareness or interest; iii) Uncertainty around regulatory future or digitalization; iv) Uncertainty around current regulatory environment or its development; and v) Strategic behaviour of incumbent or other market players.

The report floats various suggestions to address these issues noting that the issues vary from one country to another. In this context, the study also highlights a number of best practice cases and tendencies. For example, several markets already have data hubs and a number of others are planning them; price regulation is becoming somewhat less common; and unbundling is becoming more extensive.

As the decentralisation of the energy system continues, retail markets will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that consumers benefit from low prices, a wide choice of offers, and the latest innovations. The study will help to inform future national and EU policy development in this area.

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