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Energy end-use efficiency and energy services

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Energy end-use efficiency and energy services

The European Union (EU) has adopted a framework for energy end-use efficiency and energy services. Among other things, this includes an indicative energy savings target for the Member States, obligations on national public authorities as regards energy savings and energy efficient procurement and measures to promote energy efficiency and energy services.


Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use efficiency and energy services and repealing Council Directive 93/76/EEC [See amending act(s)].


The purpose of the Directive is to make the end use of energy more economic and efficient by:

  • establishing indicative targets, incentives and the institutional, financial and legal frameworks needed to eliminate market barriers and imperfections which prevent efficient end use of energy;
  • creating the conditions for the development and promotion of a market for energy services and for the delivery of energy-saving programmes and other measures aimed at improving end-use energy efficiency.

The Directive applies to the distribution and retail sale of energy, the delivery of measures to improve end-use energy efficiency, with the exception of activities included in the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme, and, to a certain extent, the armed forces. It targets the retail sale, supply and distribution of extensive grid-based energy carriers, such as electricity and natural gas as well as other types of energy such as district heating, heating oil, coal and lignite, forestry and agricultural energy products and transport fuels.

General targets for saving energy

Member States must adopt and achieve an indicative energy saving target of 9 % by 2016 in the framework of a national energy efficiency action plan (NEEAP). This target has been set and calculated in accordance with the method set out in Annex I to the Directive.

They must also appoint one or more new or existing independent public sector authorities or agencies to ensure overall monitoring of the process set up to achieve these targets.

Public sector purchasing policy

Member States must ensure that the public sector adopts measures to improve energy efficiency, inform the public and businesses of the measures adopted and promote the exchange of good practice. Annex VI to the Directive contains measures that the public sector can adopt, including:

  • the use of financial instruments for energy savings, such as third-party financing contracts and energy performance contracts;
  • the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and vehicles;
  • the purchase of low-energy products.

Member States must appoint one or more new or existing organisations to carry out administrative, management and implementation duties in order to meet their obligations.

Promotion of energy end-use efficiency and energy services

Member States must ensure that energy distributors, distribution system operators and energy retail businesses that sell electricity, natural gas, heating oil and district heating:

  • refrain from any activity which could hamper the supply of energy services, programmes to improve energy efficiency and other measures aimed at improving general energy efficiency;
  • supply information on their final customers needed to develop and implement programmes to improve energy efficiency;
  • at the discretion of the Member States, possibly using voluntary agreements or other market-based measures, offer and promote energy services to their final customers or offer and promote energy audits and/or measures to improve energy efficiency or contribute to the financial instruments for improving energy efficiency.

Member States must ensure that market operators are provided with transparent information on programmes and measures to improve energy efficiency.

Member States must also repeal or amend national legislative provisions and regulations which unnecessarily or disproportionately impede or restrict the use of financial instruments or other measures for making energy savings on the energy services market. Model contracts for financial instruments must be made available to interested parties.

They must also develop high-quality energy auditing systems for all final customers aimed at determining which measures can be taken to improve energy efficiency and which energy services it must be possible to provide and prepare for their implementation. Certification following such audits is equivalent to that obtained under the Directive on the energy performance of buildings.

Member States must also ensure that end-users are provided with competitively priced individual metering and informative billing that shows their actual energy consumption. As far as possible, bills must be based on actual energy consumption and must include, in addition to other information, the following: current actual prices and consumption, a comparison of current consumption with consumption for the previous year, contact details of bodies from which information on improving energy efficiency can be obtained. Individual meters must be installed at a competitive price wherever economically and technically feasible.

Finally, Member States must draw up reports in 2011 and 2014 on the administration and implementation of this Directive.


The Green Paper on the security of energy supply highlighted that, if no action is taken, the European Union’s dependence on external energy sources will increase from 50 % to 70 % by 2030 according to current estimates. At the same time, the EU is continuing to produce more and more CO2 and other greenhouse gases and the human activities associated with the energy sector are responsible for no less than 78 % of Union greenhouse gas emissions. This is why efforts must now focus on improving end-use energy efficiency and controlling energy demand.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2006/32/EC



OJ L 114 of 27.4.2006

Amending acts

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation No 1137/2008



OJ L 311 of 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2006/32/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2011 on energy efficiency and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC [COM(2011) 370 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. The European Commission has set itself the overall objective of reducing energy consumption by 20 % by 2020. In this context, it proposes a new strategy on energy efficiency which continues its Energy Efficiency Plan 2011. This Proposal for a Directive takes elements from this plan and makes them legally binding.

Furthermore, it proposes to repeal Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC, which no longer enable the potential for energy savings to be fully exploited. However, Article 4 of Directive 2006/32/EC should continue to apply in order to enable Member States to reach the objective of achieving 9 % of energy savings by 2016.

Commission Communication of 23 January 2008 on a first assessment of national energy efficiency action plans as required by Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services - Moving forward together on energy efficiency [COM(2008) 11 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC [OJ L 2011 of 14.8.2009].

Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC [OJ L 211 of 14.8.2009].

Last updated: 18.10.2011