Affordable, reliable electricity and gas supplies are central to modern economic and social life. The lack of investment to modernise damaged and outdated energy infrastructure is itself harming peoples’ lives, their health and their economic prospects.
The establishment of a single Energy Community market, the ultimate aim of the process, will enhance working conditions and standards of living in general. As a result of the liberalisation and deregulation process, legal and institutional framework as well as tariff and pricing policies undergo substantial changes. Should no accompanying measures be taken, the reform process might bring about adverse effects on people’s everyday life. Such social implications range from direct and indirect employment, effects on skills and qualifications, to energy affordability for households.
Consensus about these social implications is imperative. In the Energy Community context the work on social issues stems from the Memorandum of Understanding on Social issues (MoU), signed in Oct 2007. Parallel to this, the Secretariat developed a template for national Social Action Plans. Designed as the key implementation instrument, the Social Action Plans are intended to serve as a roadmap to develop and implement measures necessary to deal with social consequences of energy sector reform.
In Oct 2012, reacting to the Social Fora discussions, the 10th Ministerial Council invited the Secretariat to develop an Outline for a Social Strategy of the Energy Community. In line with Article 3 of the MoU, the Secretariat invited all governments, regulatory authorities, social partners and NGOs to participate and submit their contributions in a public consultation. The initial view on the possible outline was presented for comments and discussion at the 6th Social Forum. The Outline of the Social Strategy in the Energy Community was endorsed at the 11th Ministerial Council in Oct 2013 in Belgrade, Serbia.
The next pages outline the key policy instruments in the area of social issues. Firstly the work concerning the definition of vulnerable customers is described, including the work in relation to Social Action Plans. The Events-page groups together the meetings addressing social issues. For indepth reports addressing social issues, refer to the respective Documents-subsection.