Energy companies shouldn’t simply stop supplying consumers with energy because prices have gone up. This is what the Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM) says in response to reports on ACM’s ConsuWijzer counter.
ACM cannot interfere in a company’s finances, but it can revoke the license if the security of supply is at stake. Then all customers of the company are “distributed” to other licensees.
Watchdog ACM has received several reports from consumers who received a message from their power supplier. It states that the company is canceling the supply agreement. Also, people will be told by their supplier that their fixed price contract will be terminated and they will be offered a variable rate contract. Energy suppliers may refer to or use the General Terms and Conditions as an argument for non-payment.
ACM suspects that one of the reasons for the termination is an increase in energy prices. “We also get signs that this is stated in letter. So we are indicating to consumers the rights they have,” a spokesperson for the authority said.
According to the ACM, termination of power supply without warning and without warning is never allowed. Termination of the power supply because the consumer has not paid is allowed only if the supplier has already sent a written payment reminder and the possibility of debt counseling is indicated.
ACM cannot interfere in the company’s finances, but can revoke the license if security of supply is at stake
ACM advises consumers who experience this to send a letter or email to their power supplier, indicating their rights. The authority will also address the concerned companies.
The speaker cannot specify the participating companies or exactly how many reports were received. On Thursday, the ACM launched an investigation into reports of energy company DGB Energie, which in letters to customers cited the sharp increase in gas and electricity prices as a reason for its unilateral termination.
According to the ACM, consumers do not have to fear that they will not have access to gas or electricity if their supplier encounters financial problems. ACM cannot interfere in a company’s finances, but it can revoke the license if the security of supply is at stake. Then all customers of the company are “distributed” to other licensees. Consumers will then automatically receive a new energy contract from a new supplier and after thirty days can decide if they want to remain customers of that supplier, according to the ACM. “The bankruptcy of a supplier can have negative financial consequences for consumers, for example if the consumer still has the money, or because he has to pay more for another supplier after splitting.”
Sharply higher rates
Gas and electricity prices have risen in recent weeks rose tremendously. Higher gas prices push companies and families with significantly higher costs. It also leads to higher rates of inflation.
Energy suppliers will face financial problems if they do not pass on high purchase rates to their customers, mainly caused by low gas stocks. However, they cannot do this in all cases. A large proportion of consumers were locked in at an exceptionally low rate for two, three, or even five years in the past year. So one in three households will not notice the price hike. The blows fall on the part of clients whose contract has just expired.
Chaos in the energy market
There are various reasons for the chaos in the energy market. The purchase price of energy suppliers increased by 250 percent in the gas exchange. Stocks in Holland dwindled last winter due to severe frosts and were not replenished after that due to all sorts of international developments. For example, Asia demands a growing share of the supply and the European Union has ended up in a dispute with Russia over the operation of a new gas pipeline. The rising price of carbon dioxide is driving electricity prices to record levels.
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