The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has shared with energy suppliers its findings that some of them do not send annual or final bills to their customers on time. Data submitted by suppliers reveals that approximately one in three companies did not send their bills within the statutory term of six weeks after the date of a move or after the end of a calendar year or the contract. ACM also receives reports from consumers about this problem.
Energy suppliers are required to send their customers (consumers and other small-scale users) a bill each year, so that customers know if they must pay extra for the supply of natural gas and/or electricity, or if they get money back. Similarly, customers must receive a final bill within six weeks after a move or after a switch to a different energy supplier. Suppliers must send the annual or final bill within six weeks after the end date of the contract. This happens too late too often, according to ACM’s check.
The price cap
It is not only important for customers that bills are sent on time, but it is also in the interest of the suppliers. That is why suppliers must report to ACM about the annual and final bills that they have sent. The introduction of the price cap on 1 January 2023 has made the billing process more difficult for suppliers, but this does not relieve them of their duty to send annual or final bills on time. The price cap has been in place for seven months now, and suppliers have thus been able to gain experience with it. That is why ACM thinks it is important for suppliers to comply with the standard of six weeks and, if applicable, pay back any advance payments that were paid in excess.
What are the next steps?
ACM has confronted suppliers that are behind in sending the annual or final bills with their obligation to send bills on time (within six weeks). They must report to ACM about their backlogs, and come with improvement plans for clearing their backlogs as quickly as possible. If it turns out that a supplier is constantly behind in sending its bills, ACM can take enforcement action.