Breadcrumb

News

Energy supplier Oxxio fined for incorrect registration of customer data

08-03-2017

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed a fine of EUR 1 million on Dutch energy provider Oxxio for the incorrect registration of customer data in a Dutch central registry of energy companies. Having reliable data in this registry is essential for a well-functioning energy market. If the data is incorrect, consumers will be misinformed about their options, and providers will be unable to compete fairly with one another. Oxxio had its permanent contracts wrongfully registered with an end-date. When consulting the registry, it thus seemed as if the customer in question had a fixed-term contract. This meant that consumers had to wait before they could switch providers or they had to pay a fee. As a result of ACM’s intervention, the data has been corrected. Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “It is important that consumers can trust that the switching process will be hassle-free. The registry is a crucial part of this process, and that is why we consider this a serious violation. It also sends a signal to the market to take the registration seriously.”

Investigation into the customer registry

In the customer registry, or the ‘contract termination data registry’ (in Dutch: contracteindegegevensregister, CER), all providers that provide energy to consumers keep a record of the end-date of the contract for each connection. If a consumer wants to switch providers, the new provider consults the registry with that consumer’s consent. In this way, energy providers ensure that new contracts kick in as soon as the old ones end, and that consumers do not have to pay unexpected termination fees. Energy providers are responsible for updating the data of their customers. Considering the importance of the registry for the switching process, providers must properly verify the data that they enter.

Following reports from other energy providers about incorrect customer data at Oxxio, ACM was able to track down this case. ACM’s investigation revealed that the error occurred when Oxxio stored its customer data in another system after the company had been taken over. The error had not been discovered sooner because of insufficient internal inspections. Even after external parties had pointed out this error to Oxxio, it did not lead to the necessary remedial actions. It was only after ACM’s on-site investigation that Oxxio took actions to rectify the error.

Gravity of the violation

ACM considers this a serious violation, because other energy providers as well as consumers must be able to trust that the registry is correct, complete and up-to-date. ACM has established that the violation can be fully attributed to Oxxio. Moreover, when the error was discovered, Oxxio did not rectify it with the required urgency. The violation undermines the confidence of consumers and other providers in the functioning of the energy market.