Aimed at levelling the playing field for companies, while protecting and giving consumers the lowest possible energy prices, the legislative package will also promote sustainability by stimulating efficiency.

The vote was backed by EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, who called it a major step towards a truly integrated European energy market.

“It is good news for business and citizens alike who need competitive prices and security of energy supply,” he said.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs also threw his weight behind the move, saying a clear regulatory framework would help the EU meet the challenges of climate change, increased power import dependence and global competitiveness.

The vote preserves the key elements of the Commission’s proposal from September 19th 2007, which looked to ensure more effective regulatory oversight from independent and competent National Energy Regulators, among other things.

It comes as the UK government announced a further £1.4 bn will be poured into creating a low-carbon economy as part of its annual budget.

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