ENERGY

Simpler power contracts and bills

Watchdog forces electricity suppliers to spell out their charges, rates and discounts in detail

simpler-power-contracts-and-bills

The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) is putting an end to the unclear charges on electricity bills that a consumer would need assistance from a specialized consultant to decipher before signing a contract. To that end the energy watchdog is putting standardized forms for supply contracts and consumption bills up for public consultation.

RAE is proposing highlighting low-voltage rates that are based on the price risk they incorporate – that risk being their supply charges may be upwardly adjusted. This is because the regulator estimates that under the current conditions there is a clear need for consumers to have a full understanding in advance of the possibility of an increase in energy costs, and up to a certain ceiling.

Suppliers will have three categories of standardized rates to offer: Fixed-rate contracts bearing the sign “zero risk,” floating-rate deals with a ceiling on the increase accepted, labeled “contained risk,” and floating-rate ones without any limit, bearing the warning “high risk.” That way consumers will be able to discern clearly whether or not they want to undertake the risk of supply charge hikes.

The form of the electricity bill is also to be altered so as to spell out clearly and unambiguously the various charges for consumers. It will further include a barcode that any consumer can scan and compare with their contract on RAE’s Price Comparison Tool app. They will also be able to submit complaints to suppliers or operators through the MyRAE application.

Furthermore, RAE is introducing transparency rules regarding consumers’ pre-contract information: The watchdog is proposing set contract printouts that will clearly spell out the various rates, discounts and charges, the latter being analyzed in detail.

For every rate adjustment provision, besides the calculation mode, there will also be a column with indicative examples of the difference between fixed rates and the lowest and highest rates of the last 12 months, as well as examples of the rate shifts in relation to emission charges.