Call for energy liberalisation guidelines

Public energy distribution companies back German, EU, trade union protests

The EU should produce guidelines advising member states on how to ensure environmental protection in more liberalised energy markets, an association of publicly-owned energy distribution firms said yesterday. Cedec, whose members distribute 20% of electricity and 35% of natural gas and run half the district heating schemes in five EU countries, made its call to mark a protest by German energy workers in Berlin. Supported by the European federation of public service unions (Epsu), the rally was organised to oppose Germany's ongoing electricity market liberalisation, which unions argue is having harmful consequences both for employment and the environment. In particular, they claim that cost-cutting by newly privatised firms is putting "tremendous pressure" on national environmental programmes, including support for renewable energy and energy efficiency. A spokesman for Cedec told ENDS Daily that the European Commission should set minimum quotas of electricity supply to be generated from renewable sources, though he acknowledged it would be very difficult to do this by means of legislation.

Follow Up:
Cedec, tel: +32 2 217 8117.

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