Measures to protect vulnerable consumers in the energy sector: an assessment of disconnection safeguards, social tariffs and financial transfers
Some households across all Member States are increasingly struggling to meet their basic energy needs due to energy prices increasing faster than household budgets, poorly insulated buildings and inefficient household appliances leading to higher energy bills. The transition to a liberalised retail market for electricity and gas means that the market system increasingly rules the way retailers and consumers interact with each other, as the use of market distorting measures such as regulated prices or energy subsidies to households are removed. While this should increase opportunity for consumers to find the best deal to suit their needs, some households will need additional protection in such a market. Therefore, protective mechanisms are vital to enabling vulnerable energy consumers to access the full benefits of the market, which may not be otherwise available due to issues such as energy affordability.
This policy report from the INSIGHT_E project reviewed how different Member States have implemented specific protection measures (financial transfers, disconnection safeguards and social tariffs). Following this review, an economic assessment compared existing and alternative schemes for the implementation of protective measures across the EU. Finally, recommendations were made regarding the types of measures that provide minimum protection standards for vulnerable consumers in the energy sector.
The full report can be downloaded from the relevant INSIGHT_E webpage at the link below.