NEW AERS DOCUMENT - BENCHMARKING OF VULNERABLE CONSUMER PROTECTION MEASURES IN CERTAIN COUNTRIES
Belgrade, March 5 – As part of its obligations arising from the Social Action Plan of the Energy Community that was adopted by the Government in its Conclusion on October 9, 2009, the Serbian Energy Agency conducted benchmarking of legislation and practice in the field of energy consumer protection in several countries.
The Document “Benchmarking of Vulnerable Energy Consumer Protection Measures in Certain Countries” is one of the requisite pieces for designing the model and method to protect vulnerable energy consumers in an environment of liberalized energy markets. The Agency submitted the benchmarking analysis to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs beginning of March 2010.
From benchmarking international practice, by respecting directives and recommendations of competent EU institutions, it has been concluded that vulnerable consumer protection ought to rest on market acceptable instruments to the extent that is required and possible for each of the individual countries. Assistance provided to those consumers should be shifted from energy entities onto competent state institutions. It must be based on clearly defined criteria that would enable helping those consumers really in need.
Protection of vulnerable energy consumers should include financial assistance for paying energy bills that is defined as the minimum of existential needs, a special procedure in case of delay in paying bills and disconnection from network, as well as assistance for energy efficiency improvements.