September 29, 2022

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Energy companies are wrong to raise prices: announced too late

Energy companies are wrong to raise prices: announced too late

In the supervisory authority of the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM), they are very clear: No, this is not allowed. Any change to your contract, which is a rate increase, must be announced 30 days in advance.

This is the legal period for the termination of the power contract. The same period applies to price changes, says Tegit Mastenbrück, an ACM spokesperson.

“The thirty-day period is also regulated in the electricity routing,” he adds.

Goal

Thus, customers can object to the price change, the spokesperson continues. Consuwijzer, an ACM site with advice for consumers, has an example letter of complaint. Consumers can use this message to report that they disagree with the increase.

In it, it asks the supplier to confirm that the price change will take effect 30 days after the announcement, advises Mastenbroek. This then means that the higher rate will not take effect on October 1, but only about three weeks later. This can make a big difference in increasing your energy bill.

Dispute Committee

If the power company does not respond to this, you can go to the IDC. This one has Confirmed this year That energy companies must inform their customers about this 30 days before the tariff increase. If you do not object, the increase will take effect.

Energy giants Eneco, Essent and Greenchoice only informed their customers last week of the tariff increase. More than twenty days after its rival Vattenfall, which has already begun to inform customers at the end of August.

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General terms and conditions as an excuse

Why didn’t the other major energy companies notify their customers in August as well? Quite simply, says Ryan de Vogt, a spokeswoman for Eneco. The company has in terms and conditions State that he must notify such changes no later than 10 calendar days before the new rates become effective.

De Voogt explains that the fact that Eneco informs customers so short in advance has something to do with their purchasing strategy. “We try to buy in the market as quickly as possible, in September we buy before October,” she explains. And you want to pass on the prices the company is still paying during that period to customers.

Ten days is too short

10 days duration is also in Greenchoice Terms and Conditions. The company was unable to substantively respond to RTL Z’s questions.

Essent also did not respond to questions. The company benefits from it to the fullest, because it benefits the presence of its customers Maybe only on September 26 aware of the new rates. The company’s terms and conditions state that it will inform customers “in a timely manner”.

“This is then 30 days,” ACM’s Mastenbroek replied when asked. Consumers Association spokeswoman Joyce Donut adds that the fact that something is in the General Terms and Conditions doesn’t mean it’s legally valid.

Consumers are left with questions

Right now, as a consumer, you don’t have much choice, because if you swap your prices elsewhere they’re likely to be just as high, or even higher, they still set them apart. “But it doesn’t get any more clear, and the consumer is left with questions,” says Donat.

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By the way, companies not only comply with the law, but also do not comply with the Code of Conduct of the Energy Sector Consortium of the Netherlands. she says that customers 14 calendar days It must be notified in advance.