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Southeast Europe Regulators Take Important Step Toward Retail Electricity Choice

Southeast Europe Regulators Take Important Step Toward Retail Electricity Choice

Retail competition in electricity is the future.

Through support from USAID, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is assisting Southeast European regulators in adopting retail choice frameworks through a new Southeast Europe regional project. Together with the USAID Energy Investment Activity, the project aims to help customers to choose their suppliers in an open retail electricity market that provides them competitive pricing options.

Staff from the regulatory agencies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia met with US regulatory experts from two of the most advanced states for competitive retail electricity markets – Ohio and Pennsylvania. During the workshop, participants discussed the best ways to enable electricity customers to identify suppliers in a transparent manner and foster development of competitive retail electricity markets in Southeast Europe.

Through USAID support, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is assisting Southeast European regulators in adopting retail choice frameworks through a new Southeast Europe regional project. Together with USAID Energy Investment Activity, the project aims to improve customer education and choice related to retail electricity market opening.

As has been experienced in the EU and US, that transition to a competitive retail electricity market can be difficult for consumers. The general public is mostly unfamiliar with the concept of electricity shopping, including how to navigate price, rates based on hours of service and options for generation sources. 

The workshop, held in October 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, built on previous USAID support to the regulators of Bosnia and Herzegovina by NARUC and the USAID Energy Investment Activity. 

That assistance focused on key communications issues and best practices related to market opening, as well supporting each commission to develop their own price comparison platform. 

This unique tool will help regional regulators to develop their country’s competitive retail electricity markets and enable consumers to make economic decisions unique to their conditions. And by working on these issues at the same time, Southeast European regulators can take a harmonized approach, which will enable the creation of a regional market. 

Southeast Europe regulators are on track to develop their own price comparison tools before EU member states are mandated to do so. In doing so, they have taken the responsibility of creating a transparent and user-friendly tool that will enable consumers to make economic decisions tailored to their financial and environmental priorities. 

With the support of USAID, NARUC will continue to work with participating commissions to develop price comparison tools and make improvements on key issues related to communications and public education.