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This Debate takes stock of the current situation of the electricity retail market in Europe and discusses the future role of electricity retailers, as digitalisation and decarbonisation of the industry advance.

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Liberalisation of the EU electricity retail market was completed in July 2007. However, the experience so far shows that many of the small (residential) consumers are unwilling to take advantage of the potentials provided to them by retail competition, with switching rates remaining low (at 5-6%) for many years. The reluctance by a large share of consumers to switch supplier (stickiness) gives suppliers market power; moreover, instances of unfair commercial practices undermine trust in the liberalisation process.

The recent increases in wholesale energy prices found several suppliers – including providers of regulated services – inadequately hedged and led them to, or near to, bankruptcy. Only in the UK and only in the period September – November 2021, the period with the sharpest increase in wholesale electricity prices, 24 energy suppliers, serving some 4 million customers, went out of business. Supplier insolvency could cause widespread financial instability across the entire electricity sector, and significant costs to the system.

At the same time, the Italian regulator is organizing auctions to allocate (blocks of) small consumers who have been unwilling to leave the franchise market and choose a different supplier on the free market.

Draft Programme


14.00 – 14.05 Introduction to the Debate

Alberto Pototschnig | Florence School of Regulation

14.05 – 14.25 Recent issues with electricity retail markets

Guido Cervigni | DFC Economics

Martin Crouch| 4D Economics


Moderated by FSR

14.25 – 14.50 Introductory remarks from the panellists

Tiziana Lo Nardo | ARERA

Natalie McCoy | ERSE

Anna Martin | BEUC

14.50 – 14.55 Polls

14.55 – 15.25 Comments on the outcome of the polls and Q&A from the audience

15.20 – 15.30 Concluding remarks

Alberto Pototschnig | Florence School of Regulation

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Chiara Canestrini
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Alberto Pototschnig


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