The functioning of retail electricity markets in the European Union

Practice area: Competition & Antitrust | Consumer behaviour and protection | Energy | Energy economics | Functioning of retail markets | Public Policy | Regulatory economics
Client: EC DG Health and Consumers
Published: November, 2010
Keywords: qualitative analysis quantitative analysis stakeholder surveys and consultations
London Economics, in cooperation with Ipsos, IBF Consulting and CRIOC, were commissioned by the EC DG Health and Consumers (SANCO) to examine the functioning of retail electricity markets in the European Union. Based on consumer surveys, stakeholder surveys and mystery shopping exercises carried out in the 27 Member States, the study shows that, although consumers value having a wide choice of suppliers and tariffs, on average, there are large unrealised gains from switching supplier. Somewhat surprisingly, this seems to be particularly the case for some of the most mature and seemingly most competitive markets.
The study concludes that the functioning of the markets for consumers could be improved by increasing consumer awareness and encouraging consumers to play a more active role in the market, for example by improving switching and complaint  procedures.