Energy Minister Virgil Popescu has announced that ANRE and ANPC will start inspections at the gas suppliers on Tuesday, after several consumers complained about price changes and exorbitant bills. The minister says that suppliers who have announced a fixed price for a year and then change it, fall under two laws and will be fined, in some cases “fabulous” fines.
“From tomorrow (today, editor’s note) ANRE’s control with the Consumer Protection Agency begins with all gas suppliers. Things are very simple (…) they were not allowed to increase the price because in May they announced the July 1 offer. That company announced the price, with a fixed price for one year. If you change the price and you announced that it was a fixed price for one year, if you change the price, you are subject to two laws: one is the law protecting the consumer from misleading offers, which does not have such a big fine. The second is a fine of between 5 and 10% of turnover under the Energy Act, for the same thing: misleading offers,” Virgil Popescu told Digi 24 on Monday evening.
The minister said the fines on the Energy Law are fabulous.
“I ask all suppliers to be fair, to be fair to customers and not to abuse their dominant position on the market, because man does not look at the contract when he makes. He looks at the offer, he sees it, then he signs on (…) If they signed a contract where they have an increase clause and they did not go for the fixed price offer, unfortunately, nobody can help them there,” the minister added.
He said that ANPC and ANRE are ready to take up people’s complaints.
“I have discussed with both the president of ANRE and the president of ANPC and they are ready for these controls and they receive people’s complaints in order to help precisely domestic customers, who are not companies, they do not have legal offices behind them, they do not have legal expertise,” Popescu added.
He reiterated the idea that you can change supplier whenever the customer wants to: “The price matters a lot. Let them choose according to the price and the conditions. If they find a fixed-price offer, maybe a bit higher, but for a period of one year, and they are happy with that price, they can accept it. If they don’t like the price they can find another offer with the lower price. He can change at any time. You can change 10, 20 times a year from one supplier to another. We are discussing with ANRE and I think they will accept my proposal, so that the customer can migrate from one supplier to another only on the basis of the last bill of the place of consumption, without having to bring all kinds of documents”.
Prime Minister Florin Cîțu, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu, Labour Minister Raluca Turcan and representatives of the ANRE, Transelectrica, OPCOM and the Competition Council are meeting on Tuesday to discuss after several consumers complained about changes in gas prices and exorbitant bills.