RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is examining the legality of terms relegated to fine print in agreements offered by independent electricity suppliers.
A System Marginal Price (SMP) clause facilitating price hikes in the event that wholesale electricity prices exceed certain levels is a key concern.
The authority was prompted to conduct its inspection after the main power utility PPC announced its intention to follow suit and also implement clauses of its own concerning SMP and CO2 emission right price shifts.
Consumers have lodged complaints arguing such clauses remain vague, making it unclear as to when they can be rightfully applied. Also, consumers argue they should not have to remain aware of the possibility of tariff shifts in their electricity supply agreements.
RAE is concerned electricity suppliers may be using such terms as a pretext for price hikes. The transparency of such moves is in question.
The energy authority has yet to reach any conclusions or decisions but an outcome is believed to be near.
RAE is also examining the lawfulness of a one euro print-and-mail surcharge just introduced by PPC for all of its electricity bills delivered through the conventional postage system.
The authority appears to share consumer group views seeing this new PPC surcharge as a mere electricity bill hike rather than an incentive for a switch to e-billing.
RAE has yet to also decide on this matter but authority officials have already suggested PPC should not have introduced the charge but, instead, deducted a one-euro amount from electricity bills of consumers opting for e-bills.