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NMa: Administrative Backlogs Energy Sector Eliminated

All the large energy suppliers (Essent, Eneco, Nuon, Delta, Greenchoice and Oxxio) have managed to eliminate backlogs in the processing of changes of address and switches up to 1 January 2005. This is the conclusion reached by the Office of Energy Regulation (DTe), the part of NMa which regulates the energy sector. This part of NMa has conducted an investigation for the third time this year into the administration of the six large energy companies, which together represent 90% of the market. The reason for this large-scale investigation is the agreement which the Minister of Economic Affairs and DTe reached in the spring with the energy sector to solve the administrative problems quickly.

'I am glad that the suppliers have eliminated the backlogs for the period prior to 1 January 2005. But we still haven't completed the task," according to Peter Plug, the Acting Director of NMa's Office of Energy Regulation. "In the case of Delta and Oxxio, the service level has to improve in one or more respects." It emerges from the investigation that Delta has a lower level across the board than Nuon, Essent and Eneco. NMa has stipulated that Delta must bring its performance into line with the competition. Delta scores between 86% and 88%, while the three companies mentioned score between 93% and 100%. In addition, NMa notes that in the case of Oxxio, almost all the processes are in order, but that the company dispatches its final settlements too late after a switch. Only in 17% of cases do consumers receive their final settlement in time. In the case of other energy companies, this percentage varies between 81% and 100%. If the final settlement is not dispatched in time, consumers receive two bills, one from their old supplier and one from their new supplier. NMa has since had serious discussions with both parties and has indicated that if their processes are not in order after the next measurement in September, NMa will take appropriate measures.

In order to inform consumers better about energy companies which have their administration in order, NMa will publish a so-called scorecard every quarter on its website from the end of September 2005 onwards. Consumers will be able to see on this scorecard which suppliers perform well. Plug: "We wish to restore consumer confidence in the energy companies. Consumers must be able to rely on the fact that they can switch easily and that invoices for advance payments and final settlements arrive on time (in other words, within two months)." The six large energy suppliers are usually able to ensure that consumers receive their invoices for advance payments and final settlements when they change address or switch suppliers within the stipulated period. The companies score well above 90% in almost all cases, according to the regulator.

On the basis of the third investigation, NMa made a number of recommendations to the Minister of Economic Affairs to ensure improvement in administrative processes, mainly because the supply of data causes problems. One of the recommendations relates to the obligation to introduce the so-called supplier model. This supplier model ensures that consumers, even after changing suppliers, only receive one invoice because the energy supplier collects not only its payments for the supply of energy, but also collects the electricity grid and gas network managers' charges. The energy supplier then passes on the electricity grid and gas network charges to the electricity grid or gas network operator.