Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-06-17-Speech-2-350"

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"Madam President, access to energy at manageable prices is one of the elements accelerating social integration and access to knowledge and education. Energy supplies have a significant impact on the way citizens function in social and economic life. Unfortunately, it is often the case that consumers, particularly private individuals and small- and medium-sized enterprises, have limited potential to make their interests effectively known where energy access is concerned. According to the data available, the Member States have not satisfactorily discharged their duty to provide targeted public services that reach the least privileged social groups. The European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers should resolve some of the problems that exist in this area. This Charter is supposed to be based on the idea of cooperation between Member States with full application of the principle of subsidiarity, bearing in mind that certain practices in the sphere of consumer protection may result in different outcomes in different Member States. Energy suppliers and network operators should place themselves under an obligation to function with respect for the environment and to restrict radioactive waste as far as possible. Using renewable energy sources and guaranteeing consumers the right to make a conscious choice of energy source should also be made a matter of priority. Limits should also be placed on the formalities arising from a change in supplier; consumers should be protected against dishonest sales practices and consumer organisations should be set up. Above all, though, a solution must be found to the problem of energy poverty in order to enable all citizens to take part in many important areas of life."@en1

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