Secretary of State issues an ultimatum to energy suppliers

The Federal State Secretary responsible for Consumer Protection Eva De Bleeker (Flemish liberal) has told VRT News that she has told energy suppliers that they have one week to come up with a “clear step-by-step plan” for the setting up of a performant customer service department. Speaking in an interview with VRT News’ televised Sunday morning topical discussion programme ‘De zevende dag’, Ms De Bleeker said that despite persistent requests and fines issued by the Economic Inspectorate, some energy supply companies are still without reasonable customer service provision.

The high price of gas and electricity has led to an increase in the number of complaints about energy supply companies. Despite prior agreements reached between the companies and the Secretary of State regarding customer service, many customers remain in the dark about, for example, how the energy companies calculate their advance payment invoices.

“Perhaps the urgency hasn’t come through to them or the suppliers do not realise how uneasy their customers become when they receive high advance payment bills”, Ms De Bleeker told VRT News.

The Economic Inspectorate is already conducting investigations into complaints made against some suppliers. Complaints that are upheld can result in fines of up to 80,000 euro.

Despite this 7 energy suppliers are still without reasonable provision to allow customers to contact them with questions about, for example, high prepayment bills. 

“My patience has run out”, Ms De Bleeker said. She added that she intends to take legal action against the companies concerned if they don’t come up with a clear plan to resolve the outstanding issues within the next 7 days.

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