The EU energy market is opening up for full-scale competition, in a move which could save industry members and households around £40 billion a year, reports the Guardian.
UK consumers are thought to be losing out on £10 billion a year in the current climate and the move is expected to see British power firms expand into Europe.
British firms such as Centrica, who own British Gas, will be able to obtain new customers in mainland Europe and will set its sights on rivalling energy giants Eon and RWE of Germany and EDF and GDF of France.
Previous restrictions have limited gas and electricity customers to select their energy supplier from nine of the 27 EU member states.
Now consumers will be encouraged to choose from energy providers across all states, except Cyprus, Estonia, Malta and Finland, in a development aimed at slashing prices through increased competition.
Charles Beigbeder is chief executive of Poweo, France's main alternative supplier, which is 400 times smaller than EDF.
"I'm not saying there will be a huge revolution... but I don't see why 15 to 30 per cent won't switch in the next three to five years ... If they can get cheaper energy it's in their own interest," he said.
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