Skip to main content

Article Category

News

Article available in the folowing languages:

Liberalization of public utilities: domestic consumers' perspective

The European Commission, DG XXIV, has published an invitation to tender for a study on the consequences of liberalizing the public utility sector for domestic consumers. In the light of the Intergovernmental Conference, the Commission is currently reinforcing its policy in th...

The European Commission, DG XXIV, has published an invitation to tender for a study on the consequences of liberalizing the public utility sector for domestic consumers. In the light of the Intergovernmental Conference, the Commission is currently reinforcing its policy in the field of public utilities in the European Union. In a forthcoming communication, it stresses the need for the general liberalization of public utilities in the EU while setting minimum safeguards to ensure that EU citizens can benefit from its effect. DG XXIV, in its role as consumer watchdog for public services, supports this two-way approach while stressing the urgent need for truly independent and transparent national regulators who ensure fair competition. It supports the on-going liberalization process as it feels that consumer benefits are to be expected in terms of prices, quality and choice. At the same time, it establishes a "safety net" in the public utility sector as experience shows that the market cannot solve all problems by itself. By defining universal service obligations at a European level, the Commission provides basic access for all citizens to a minimum set of services at a defined quality to be delivered at affordable tariffs throughout the EU. Due to rapid developments of the sector, DG XXIV feels that the situation should be monitored regularly. It therefore calls for a study which will examine the consequences of liberalization of the public utility sector for domestic consumers and analyse the effectiveness of independent regulators at a national level safeguarding the consumers' interest. This rather practical study should concentrate on the following sectors: - Telecommunications services; - Air transport; - Gas and electricity supply. As far as rail transport, postal services and water are concerned, they should be included only if there are major lessons to be learned. An interim report (indicating preliminary results and evaluating work to date) is to be completed within three months following the signature of the contract. The final report, containing the results of the study, is to be presented within six months. Tender documents may be requested from: European Commission DG XXIV - Consumer Policy Unit A4 (RP 3) 200 rue de la Loi B-1049 Brussels Fax +32-2-2967918 Completed tenders are to be submitted to the same address.