GDPR rule hampering efforts of independent energy suppliers

The European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whose implementation earlier this year, on May 25, has limited enterprises heavily reliant on telephone marketing practices for business, represents an additional difficulty for independent electricity and natural gas suppliers seeking to make market share gains but already impeded by narrow profit margins.

The GDPR measure, carrying hefty fines for offenders, has set back the ability of electricity and natural gas suppliers to communicate directly with potential customers via telephone, seen as a crucial marketing tool prior to the data protection regulation’s introduction.

Consumers have already filed legal cases against certain independent suppliers for violations of the new EU data protection regulation. Legal department officials of energy supply firms have needed to counter an increasing number of cases and expect more to come.

The new rule forbids personal data from being used by enterprises if consumers have not previously provided their full consent. Violators face hefty penalties reaching as much as 20 million euros or 4 percent of company revenues.