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Supply of energy

Do you know your rights in relation to supply of energy?

Since the opening of the energy supply market in the EU, as an energy consumer you are entitled to:

  • Connection to the electricity grid and use of the supply.
  • Transparent information about your contract, more interesting offers and on how to control your consumption.
  • Help in the event of problems.

In the EU you may choose the provider you want from among all the gas or electricity providers who offer their services in your area.

You may select a gas or electricity provider registered in another Member state, provided that they offer services in your zone and wish to formalise a contract with you.

You should distinguish between the provider and the network manager. You can select the provider but you cannot select the network manager in your zone. The network manager cannot offer the same energy supply services. 

Sometimes, the manager forms part of a larger company that also supplies energy. But in this case, the network manager must have a separate visual identity in order to avoid confusion with the provider company.

If you decide to change your gas or electricity provider, you will not be charged for the change. The network manager for you zone must make the change within three weeks as long as the initial contract conditions (for example, advance notice requirement or minimum contract length) are observed. 

The service providers may not impose disproportionate obligations which prevent consumers from changing.

Six weeks after changing, at most, you should receive the bill or final statement of closure from your previous supplier.

If you are in a position of vulnerability (for example, if you do not have adequate infrastructure or cannot pay your electricity bills) you cannot be disconnected from the electricity grid and you may be entitled to a guaranteed supply of the necessary electricity. 

The single point of contact in the country in which you live will explain whether or not you have this right, in which cases you do have the right and from what measures you may benefit.

You may withdraw from a new contract within de fourteen days if the contract was agreed outside the offices of the provider, by internet or by phone.

You may access your consumption data free of charge. You may ask the data administrator (for example, the provider or the network manager) who provides this information to other gas or electricity providers at no extra charge.

In the event of a new connection in a building (for example, after major renovations), you are entitled to an individual precise gas or electricity meter at a competitive price (similarly, in the case of central heating, refrigeration or hot water). 

In all other cases, you are also entitled to an individual and precise meter at a competitive price, unless technical or financial obstacles have been established at national level.

If you have a smart meter, you should be able to access, easily and free of charge and within the framework of your supply contract, detailed information about your energy consumption for at least the last two months. 

You are also entitled to access your consumption data for at least the last three years, or from the start of the supply contract if the contract is less than three years old.

The electricity and gas bills must be based on the energy that is really consumed and must be issued sufficiently often to allow you to control how much energy you consume.

The bills must be clear and provide useful information. They should allow you:

  • To easily understand what you are paying for the energy you consume.
  • To compare offers from different energy providers so that you can change provider is you wish.

You are entitled to adequate information about the energy you consume and on how to consume energy more efficiently.

The invoices, contracts, transactions and receipts must indicate clearly (unless the national authorities do not consider it necessary):

  • The true prices and the energy consumed.
  • A comparison with the amount of energy used for the same period in the previous year.
  • Who to approach to find out how to save energy (for example, consumer organisations, energy agencies or similar organisations, including internet addresses) and, where possible, comparisons with similar customers.

You may submit a complaint to your gas or electricity provider, who should have informed you of the procedure for doing so.

This should allow you to resolve your problem quickly and to obtain a refund or indemnity where applicable.

If you do not receive a satisfactory answer to your complaint, you may send it to an independent body to obtain an out-of-court ruling. These options do not restrict your right to take the case to court.