Decree No. 207/2021, on billing for supply and related services in the energy industry, was published in the Collection of Laws on May 26, 2021 (the “Decree”). The Decree enters into effect on January 1, 2022.
The Decree introduces several new elements in relation to the mandatory information to be stated on billing statements. Merchants and producers will now be required to include the following information on their billing statements for electricity and gas supply:
a) the date on which the obligation under the contract terminates and the date when the product or price change occurs, if such a change is agreed Many fixed-term contracts have an automatic extension clause if the customer does not inform the merchant or producer (jointly the “supplier”) by the date set forth in the contract or GT&C that the customer does not want to extend the contract. If the customer does not know when their contract ends (e.g. because they lost the written copy or never received one), it is very difficult to know when the time is right to inform the supplier that they do not want to extend the contract. The amendment to the Decree should limit the practice of certain suppliers who refuse to inform customers of the date of terminating the contract and thus make it more difficult for customers to switch to a competitor.
b) the web address or other link to comparison tools for comparing offers from electricity / gas merchants operated or secured by the Energy Regulatory Office, if the Energy Regulatory Office operates or secures the operation of such a comparison tool
c) the web address of the Ministry of Industry and Trade with published contact information for an independent consumer organization or similar energy agency
Currently billing statements only have to include the contact information for the Energy Regulatory Office and Ministry of Industry. This information will now have to include a link to comparison tools (an energy price calculator) through the ERO website where customers can compare their current electricity and gas prices with those from the competition. The intention is to keep customers better informed about the option to change electricity or gas suppliers for cheaper ones. Billing statements will also have to include a link to the Ministry of Industry website with contact information for independent consumer organizations (e.g. Dtest, Sdružení českých spotřebitelů).
The above information must be included on the billing statement for electricity supply for customers connected to the low-voltage grid and gas supply for household or retail customers. Although the Decree does not take effect until January 1, 2022, the billing document should also include the above-mentioned features if the accounting period or part thereof ends before the Decree takes effect.
However, the Decree is only one of several planned changes focusing on protecting small customers. The proposed amendment would introduce consumers’ right to terminate their contract at any time up to 20 days before the end of the agreed obligation period without penalty, and if the termination takes place within this window, the contract will terminate at the end of the agreed obligation period for the fixed term contract and will not be extended even if it includes an automatic extension clause. This would mean customers would not have to know the “window of time” in which they have to inform the merchant that they do not want to extend their contract, but they can do so at any time up to 21 days before the end of the contract.
However, the amendment to the Energy Act has not yet been passed. Considering the proposed impact of these changes we can expect the debate to be heated.
We will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.