Must obligated entities finance (and, potentially, to what extent) energy savings among their final customers in order to be able to count these savings towards their obligation?



General features – at the first glimpse nothing unusual


One of the most publicized component of the European Commission’s Proposal of 22 June 2011 for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC {SEC(2011) 779 final} {SEC(2011) 780 final} (COM(2011) 370 final) - hereinafter referred to as “Proposal” – is the legal obligation to establish energy saving schemes in all Member States.


Pursuant to the Article 6(1) of the Proposal, this scheme should ensure that either all energy distributors or all retail energy sales companies operating on the Member State's territory achieve annual energy savings equal to 1.5% of their energy sales, by volume, in the previous year in that Member State excluding energy used in transport.

As the Proposal clearly stresses this amount of energy savings should be achieved by the obligated parties among final customers.


MEMO/11/440 of the same date as the Proposal clarified that the said obligation could be achieved by the obligated entities through the implementation of energy efficiency measures such as improving the efficiency of the heating system, installing double glazed windows or insulating roofs, among final energy customers. To achieve these savings the energy companies concerned would have to work with the final energy users (e.g. individual house owners, supermarkets, hospitals). MEMO/11/440 also remarks that energy companies dispose of important commercial information about the energy consumption of their clients that could make them an important actor in the energy savings market but they did not have so far  stimuli to do so.


Alternatives – endless possibilities but short time limits


Before we go to the further remarks, it should be reserved that despite obligatory character, the scheme rules are extremely  flexible because:

1) each Member State is empowered to devise its own scheme that best meets the national circumstances while following certain common EU requirements (e.g. same level of ambition, certification of savings),

2) Member Sates have also the possibility to propose alternative energy savings mechanisms that lead to the same results but are not based on obligation on energy companies. These could, for example, be funding programmes or voluntary agreements.


The annual amount of energy savings achieved through these alternative approaches should be equivalent to those required by the Proposal. There are envisioned, furthermore, short time limits for any decisions as regards optional approaches – detailed propositions must be notified to the European Commission by 1 January 2013 at the latest (the Commission is entitled to refuse such measures or make suggestions for modifications in the 3 months following notification).



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