General rules

Competitive, consumer-centred, flexible, and non-discriminatory electricity markets 

Contracting Parties shall ensure that their national law does not unduly hamper cross-border trade in electricity, consumer participation, including through demand response, investments into, in particular, variable and flexible energy generation, energy storage, or the deployment of electromobility or new interconnectors between Contracting Parties, and shall ensure that electricity prices reflect actual demand and supply.

Free choice of supplier

Contracting Parties shall ensure that all customers are free to purchase electricity from the supplier of their choice and shall ensure that all customers are free to have more than one electricity supply contract at the same time, provided that the required connection and metering points are established.

Market-based supplied prices

Suppliers shall be free to determine the price at which they supply electricity to customers. Contracting Parties shall take appropriate actions to ensure effective competition between suppliers.

Contracting Parties shall ensure the protection of energy vulnerable customers by social policy or by other means than public interventions in the price setting for the supply of electricity.

Contracting Parties may apply public interventions in the price setting for the supply of electricity to energy poor or vulnerable household customers to pursue a general economic interest, but any public interventions need to be clearly defined, transparent, verifiable, time-limited, proportionate and non-discriminatory, including equal access for Energy Community electricity undertakings to customers.

Third-party access

Contracting Parties shall ensure the implementation of a system of third-party access to the transmission and distribution systems based on published tariffs, applicable to all customers and applied objectively and without discrimination between system users.

Public service obligations (PSO)

Contracting Parties may impose on undertakings operating in the electricity sector, in the general economic interest, public service obligations which may relate to security, including the security of supply, regularity, quality and price of supplies and environmental protection, including energy efficiency, energy from renewable sources and climate protection.

PSOs shall be clearly defined, transparent, non-discriminatory and verifiable, and shall guarantee equality of access for electricity undertakings of the Energy Community to national consumers.

Authorisation procedure for new capacities

For the construction of new generating capacity, Contracting Parties shall adopt an authorisation procedure, which shall be conducted in accordance with objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria.

Contracting Parties shall ensure that specific, simplified and streamlined authorisation procedures exist for small decentralised and/or distributed generation, which take into account their limited size and potential impact.


Consumer empowerment and protection

Basic contractual rights

Contracting parties shall ensure that all final customers are entitled to have their electricity provided by a supplier, subject to the supplier’s agreement, regardless of the Party to the Energy Community in which the supplier is registered, provided that the supplier follows the applicable trading and balancing rules. In that regard, Contracting Parties shall take all measures necessary to ensure that administrative procedures do not discriminate against suppliers already registered in another Party to the Energy Community.

Contracting parties shall ensure that the final customers have the benefit of basic contractual rights stipulated in the contracts between the suppliers and the final customers.

Right to request a dynamic electricity price contract

Contracting Parties shall ensure that final customers who have a smart meter installed can request to conclude a dynamic electricity price contract with at least one supplier and with every supplier that has more than 200 000 final customers.

Right to switch

Contracting Parties shall ensure that a customer wishing to switch suppliers or market participants engaged in aggregation, while respecting contractual conditions, is entitled to such a switch within a maximum of three weeks from the date of the request. By no later than 2026, the technical process of switching supplier shall take no longer than 24 hours and shall be possible on any working day.

Contracting Parties shall ensure that at least household customers and small enterprises are not charged any switching-related fees.

Energy comparison tool

Contracting Parties shall ensure that at least household customers, and microenterprises with an expected yearly consumption of below 100 000 kWh, have access, free of charge, to at least one tool comparing the offers of suppliers, including offers for dynamic electricity price contract.

Citizen energy communities

Contracting Parties shall provide enabling regulatory framework, so that citizen energy communities could be established as legal entities. The citizen energy communities shall be based on open and voluntary participation, and shall be effectively controlled by their members (natural persons, local authorities or small enterprises.

The citizen energy communities shall be rather value-driven (to generate social and environmental benefits to its members or the local areas) than profit-driven.

The citizen energy community shall be empowered to engage in generation, including from renewable sources, distribution, supply, consumption, aggregation, energy storage, energy efficiency services or charging services for electric vehicles or provide other energy services to its members or shareholders.

Smart metering

Contracting Parties shall ensure the deployment of smart metering systems that assist the active participation of customers in the electricity market. Such deployment may be subject to a cost-benefit assessment which shall be undertaken by the Contracting Parties.

Where the deployment of smart metering systems has been negatively assessed as a result of the cost-benefit assessment, Contracting Parties shall ensure that this assessment is revised at least every four years, or more frequently, in response to significant changes in the underlying assumptions and in response to technological and market developments.

Demand response

Contracting Parties shall ensure that their national regulatory framework allows and foster participation of demand response through aggregation.

Contracting Parties shall allow final customers, including those offering demand response through aggregation, to participate alongside producers in a non-discriminatory manner in all electricity markets.

Universal service

Contracting Parties shall ensure that all household customers, and, where Contracting Parties deem it to be appropriate, small enterprises, enjoy universal service, namely the right to be supplied with electricity of a specified quality within their territory at competitive, easily and clearly comparable, transparent and non-discriminatory prices.

To ensure the provision of universal service, Contracting Parties may appoint a supplier of last resort.

Vulnerable customers and energy poverty

Contracting Parties shall take appropriate measures to protect customers and shall ensure, in particular, that there are adequate safeguards to protect vulnerable customers. In this context, each Contracting Party shall define the concept of vulnerable customers which may refer to energy poverty and, inter alia, to the prohibition of disconnection of electricity to such customers in critical times.

The concept of vulnerable customers may include income levels, the share of energy expenditure of disposable income, the energy efficiency of homes, critical dependence on electrical equipment for health reasons, age or other criteria.


Distribution System Operator

Designation of Distribution System Operators (DSO)

Contracting Parties shall designate or shall require undertakings that own or are responsible for distribution systems to designate one or more distribution system operators.

DSO unbundling

Where the distribution system operator is part of a vertically integrated undertaking, it shall be independent at least in terms of its legal form, organisation and decision-making from other activities not relating to distribution. Those rules shall not create an obligation to separate the ownership of assets of the DSO from the vertically integrated undertaking.

More flexibility in the distribution networks

DSOs, subject to approval by the regulatory authority, or the regulatory authority itself, shall, in a transparent and participatory process that includes all relevant system users and TSOs, establish the specifications for the flexibility services procured and, where appropriate, standardised market products for such services at least at national level. The specifications shall ensure the effective and non-discriminatory participation of all market participants, including market participants offering energy from renewable sources, market participants engaged in demand response, operators of energy storage facilities and market participants engaged in aggregation.


Transmission System Operator

Unbundling of Transmission System Operator (TSO)

The transmission system operator to which the tasks are assigned shall be certified under one of the following three models: 

  • Full ownership unbundling

  • Independent system operator

  • Independent transmission operator.

Undertakings which have been certified by the regulatory authority under one of the unbundling models, shall be approved and designated as TSOs by Contracting Parties. The designation of transmission system operators shall be notified to the Energy Community Secretariat and published in the Website of the Energy Community.

Regulatory authorities shall monitor the continuing compliance of TSOs with the unbundling requirements according to the relevant unbundling model, and shall open certification procedure upon notification of the TSOs, on their own initiative, or upon reasoned request from the Energy Community Secretariat.


Regulatory authorities

Designation and independence of regulatory authorities

Each Contracting Party shall designate a single regulatory authority at national level.

Contracting Parties shall guarantee the independence of the regulatory authority and shall ensure that it exercises its powers impartially and transparently.

Regional cooperation

Regulatory authorities shall closely consult and cooperate with each other, in particular within Energy Community Regulatory Board, and shall provide each other and the Energy Community Regulatory Board with any information necessary for the fulfilment of their tasks.

Compliance with network codes and guidelines

Any regulatory authority and the Energy Community Secretariat may request the opinion of Energy Community Regulatory Board on the compliance of a decision taken by a regulatory authority with the relevant network codes and guidelines.

Where the regulatory authority which has taken the decision does not comply with Energy Community Regulatory Board’s opinion within four months of the date of receipt of that opinion, the Energy Community Regulatory Board shall inform the Energy Community Secretariat accordingly.

When the Energy Community Secretariat finds that the decision of a regulatory authority raises serious doubts as to its compatibility with the network codes and guidelines, it may examine the case further and issue a final decision.