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NMa pushes ahead with further improving energy bills for consumers

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) is pushing ahead with improving the quality of energy bills issued by energy companies. Suppliers will be required to ask for and check meter data. In addition, suppliers must take the initiative in contacting consumers when meter data does not seem to be completely in order. The NMa will enforce this procedure if energy companies fail to comply with the modified provisions in the Information Code. Chris Fonteijn, chairman of the Board of the NMa, explains: ‘This is a major step towards better energy bills with meter data that consumers and small businesses are able to recognize. We expect these efforts to result in better energy bills soon, with meter data the customer recognizes.’

Last year, Dutch consumer-watchdog show Kassa extensively reported on the issue of meter data in energy bills. At the request of the NMa, suppliers have changed their procedures when consumers switch suppliers, or move. Customers now only need to contact a single point of contact for questions about meter data: their new supplier. Previously, consumers often had questions about meter data they did not recognize, as they did not correspond with the meter data they submitted. ‘Having recognizable meter data is vital to correct processing and proper invoicing,’ Mr. Fonteijn says.

Consumers without so-called smart meters have to take down their own meter data, and send it to their new energy supplier. This appears to be an error-prone procedure. The Information Code has been modified in such a way that the NMa and the energy companies believe they have developed the best procedure possible.

Consumers with smart meters hardly experience any problems with meter data when switching suppliers, or when moving. This is because energy companies can remotely read the meter data themselves, at the right moment, after customer approval.