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Energy suppliers inform consumers better about their offers

Energy suppliers inform their customers better than before about contracts, conditions, and costs. This helps consumers understand faster what they actually pay, and it helps them compare offers from various suppliers. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has come to this conclusion on the basis of a thorough analysis. ACM is pleased with this improvement. Next, ACM also wants the annual bills and final bills to become clearer and more easy-to-understand for consumers.

Consumers are now better able to understand and compare offers from energy companies. Clear information is essential for making the right choices. Energy suppliers have taken major steps in the right direction. The next step is making sure that the annual bills and final bills are also easy-to-understand for all consumers

Gradually moving towards better information

The law mandates that energy companies provide their customers with complete, clear, and correct information. In the past, this has not always been the case. For this reason, it was difficult for consumers to assess how high their energy costs would be. That is why, in late-2014, ACM asked energy suppliers to inform consumers better. Energy suppliers have, in the meantime, taken steps to do so. ACM was sometimes required to exert pressure by imposing orders subject to periodic penalty payments. The results are:

  • Consumers receive offers that are clearer and easier to compare, thanks to the so-called ‘personalized offers’;
  • Consumers receive contracts with clear information about the conditions, the expiration date, and the monthly instalments. This enables consumers to know in advance how much they will have to pay and for how long;
  • Suppliers have to inform customers clearly about price adjustments in advance, so that customers have a choice to make use of a better offer;
  • Suppliers inform customers clearly about the manner in which the contract will be continued after the expiration date.

The annual bills and final bills should also be clearer

ACM has now asked energy suppliers to make the annual bills and final bills more transparent. It is important that consumers understand these bills, because they show consumers their actual costs (after settling the advance payments). These costs should correspond with the prices agreed upon in the contract.

ACM calls on consumers to report any unclear bills

ACM asks consumers to contact ConsuWijzer if they have received any unclear annual bills or final bills from their energy suppliers. Such reports help ACM establish whether or not energy suppliers inform their customers properly. A critical attitude in consumers will force businesses to provide better service and competitive prices, and to keep innovating.