Energetic particle precipitation induces ionization of the atmosphere which initiates a chain of reaction cycles affecting atmospheric composition and dynamics potentially down to surface weather systems. Ionization rates are retrieved based on yield functions or pre-calculated monoenergetic electron flux and energy spectra of precipitated energetic particles. Usually, information about energy spectra is obtained from satellites, balloons, and various ground-based observations. In all cases, some assumptions about spectral distribution for the entire energy range have to be made. As ionization rates are widely used in chemistry-climate models to estimate the atmospheric response to particle forcing, evaluation of the energy spectra is a key task in the solar-terrestrial studies. In this paper, it is shown that possible uncertainties of the ionization rates retrieval based on different spectral functions can lead to large disagreements in the ionization rates, with implications for the modelled response of atmospheric composition and dynamics to electron precipitation.