Local energy companies join call to improve information in energy offers to consumers

BEUC NEWS - 20.06.2016

A network representing many of Europe’s local energy companies, CEDEC, has joined BEUC as well as gas and electricity providers in calling for clearer information in energy offers. The effort is part of a bid to help consumers navigate the market more successfully in the coming years. Currently, consumers find it difficult to compare energy offers and to choose which one works best for them.

 

BEUC, EUROGAS and EURELECTRIC – three networks representing consumer organisations, gas suppliers and electricity providers respectively at EU level – have been calling on energy suppliers to provide the most important and relevant information to consumers in a concise way, free of jargon and in one easily accessible place, like the supplier’s website. CEDEC, a European federation of 1,500 local energy companies, has now joined this call.

The recommendation is to display:

  • Product name and main features including information on the environmental impact, clear description of promotions (e.g. temporary discounts) and additional services (e.g. maintenance, insurance)
  • Total price - which includes all cost components - and conditions for price changes
  • Contract duration, notice period and conditions for termination including fees and penalties
  • Payment frequency and method options (e.g. cash/cheque/direct debit…)
  • Supplier’s contact details and the identification of any intermediary

Naturally, this does not replace all pre-contractual information, which consumers should continue to receive and read before signing any contract. Whatever was communicated in the initial offer must also be included in the contract.

BEUC, EURELECTRIC, CEDEC and EUROGAS will review how far energy suppliers have met these recommendations in early 2017. This exercise of self-regulation comes ahead of a major Commission proposal towards the end of 2016.