KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON IS SOCIALIST AIM

(14 November 2007, Brussels) The European Parliament Socialist Group today set out fresh thinking on EU energy policy needs and pledged to target energy poverty and consumer protection.



The Group said that in the run-up to adoption by Parliament of the European Commission's energy market package it would also fight for a regulatory framework to allow network investment that would "keep the lights on in Europe." This would cover grid access and planning procedures for new and renewable sources of energy.



Said Robert Goebbels, Socialist Group Vice-President responsible for energy policy: "We intend to ensure that the internal energy market package improves consumer protection and tackles energy poverty. We have to strengthen incentives for investment in transmission and distribution capacities and assure the producers of renewables that they are welcome in Europe."



Eluned Morgan, author of a European Parliament report on the directive on the internal electricity market, said: "Completion of the internal energy market must result in increased consumer welfare, greater transparency, higher quality of service, more efficient appliances and increased consumer confidence."



Atanas Paparizov, author of a parliamentary report on regulation of natural gas transmission networks, added: "It is crucial to pay special attention to the rights and obligations of vulnerable consumers. Disconnection from electricity in many cases means being disconnected from society. Energy is needed for cooking, heating or communication."



The Commission adopted the third package of legislative measures aimed at resolving structural failings in the internal market for gas and electricity on 19 September 2007.



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