With their paper on 'The Regulatory consumer: prosumer driven local energy production initiatives' Anna Butenko (Centrum voor Energievraagstukken) and Kati Cseres (ACELG) won the Best paper award at the 8th Annual Conference on Competition and Regulation in Network Industries in Delft.
Anna’s and Kati’s paper analyses whether legal rules correspond to and implement consumers’ new role in market regulation in general, and more specifically, energy consumers’ role in regulating energy markets. In the EU energy sector, technical developments such as smart meters, solar panels, and decentralized energy storage enable a proactive role for energy consumers, consumers are often prosumers: they produce their own energy, and in some cases even trade on the markets. In fact, consumers hold a certain degree of responsibility to regulate markets and contribute to the competitiveness and the legitimacy of market processes such as energy efficiency or sustainability in energy markets.The paper critically analyses the normative concepts and definitions in EU (consumer) law in order to establish whether these comply with the concept of the (pro)-active energy consumer. It conducts a case-study of the prosumer-driven local energy production initiatives and examines whether there is a gap between law and technological development, which can lead to the problem of ‘regulatory disconnection’.