On the initiative of Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for Energy, the European Commission has adopted a proposal for a directive calling for the introduction of energy efficiency criteria in planning techniques in the electricity and gas distribution sector. It is hoped that these proposals will lead to more energy efficiency, lower costs and the reduction of CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has, in this context, estimated that overall savings of 15-20% in electricity end-use could be accomplished. The purpose of the proposed Directive, prepared within the framework of the European Community's energy efficiency programme SAVE, is to ensure a level playing field for investments, by proposing that electricity and distribution utilities establish development plans which give equal consideration to all economic options, on the supply side as well as on the demand side, in meeting consumer demand and needs. This measure, also called IRP (Integrated Resource Planning), should thus contribute to the promotion of more rational use of energy in the European Union. The proposed Directive will establish a framework under which Member States can develop national proposals for mobilising their utilities to produce both environmental and economic gains.