Suppliers given 2 months for cost-clause rule adjustments

Electricity suppliers have been given two months to fully comply with a list of new cost-clause rules just issued by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Suppliers include cost-related clauses in electricity bill agreements as cover for various cost shifts. However, some of these clauses have tended to confuse or  surprise consumers, prompting complaints.

“The authority’s objective is to protect consumers,” a highly-ranked RAE official informed, pointing out that the new regulations will help consumers make clear price comparisons of various supplier offers in straight-forward fashion.

RAE staged a public consultation procedure on the matter over many months before deciding on its new clause rules, ten in total.

Electricity suppliers must include a fixed-tariff option for household and small business consumers as an alternative to an adjustable rate. Also, cost adjustment clauses will be based on one standardized formula.

In addition, suppliers will need to set clause-triggering cost levels realistically so that clause usage is limited to unusual, damage-inflicting market conditions for suppliers.

Any clauses included in supply contacts must be clearly presented along with all other terms, not in fine print. Also, clause-related charges and calculations must be clearly shown in every electricity bill, according to the RAE guidelines.

Furthermore, electricity supplier websites must include clause examples.

Another new rule states that penalty clauses for premature consumer withdrawals from supplier contracts should be limited to fixed-tariff agreements. Such a clause should not be included in supply agreements for consumers who have chosen floating tariff rates as these consumers have taken on the risk of any cost changes, the new RAE rules note.