Adding to the rising cost of electricity in Spain is another problem that affects thousands of homes when paying the electricity bill. Persists delay in billing due to computer failures that have been dragging on since last June, as this newspaper reported. As of today, the chaos with these electricity bills has not been resolved because the actual consumption data in thousands of cases is still not transferred to paper, as quantified by the sector. Utilities blame distributors for the collapse in computer systems after the change in tolls methodology since the new rate came into effect. In this scenario, the marketers have
bet on calculating the receipt based on estimated readings in some cases. Other companies have opted not to issue invoices until they have actual consumption.
The affected power companies are working on solving it and blame it on the change in the tolls methodology with the new measure that forced them to reprogram the systems and billing. Industry sources admit that computer systems “went crazy” with the entry into force of the new toll system almost six months ago. However, the same sources send a message of tranquility and ensure that the meters have continued to work and that the actual readings of the affected customers are registered, data that is already beginning to be transferred to the receipts.
Meanwhile, the marketers assure that the problem is being solved little by little and that what they are doing now is collect and send the real reading of the months in which the invoices have not been sent. Customers will have the last word to decide whether to pay everything at once or to prorate the amount in the next receipts without paying any type of surcharge.
“In June, when the rates changed, there were many billing errors in the access tolls. These can be justified by the large change that had to be collected on the invoice. However, we continue to suffer unjustifiable delays in the billing of the distributors ”, laments the president of the Association of Independent Energy Marketers, Javier Bescós. Bescós also criticizes the slowness to correct the problem. «In the case of a distributor, we do not have an approximate date of resolution, they simply indicate that they have failures in the systems and apologize, he assures.
“The marketer is the one who faces the customer and these delays are causing a lot of anger and a loss of image.” What’s more, We have been dealing with thousands of consumer complaints for months, opening complaints at the distributor and monitoring of all of them ”, adds the president of ACIE, who is also director of regulation and innovation at Fenie Energía.
It should be remembered that small retailers “advance the money for the purchase of energy for their customers, but do not receive the payment,” clarifies Francisco Valverde, head of Renewables at Menta Energía, a company affected by delays in the issuance of electricity bills.
Because small trading companies are the other major victims of the situation, with many of them running out of cash and the ability to finance themselves. “They are small companies without the resources of the large distributors and they are having very strong treasury tensions. On the one hand, the large distributors are not billing you and when they invoice you they do it with a VAT of 21% and they have to invoice their clients with a VAT of 10%. There is a difference of 11% that they have to advance in some way and they will not get it back until next year or until they request a VAT refund from the Treasury ”, the economic analyst and professor at EAE Business School explains to ABC. Juan Carlos Higueras.
From Competition they claim to be aware of the problem suffered by “some customers.” Currently, the CNMC’s energy department is in a phase of analysis and gathering information. “The actions that can subsequently be carried out are not yet decided,” indicate sources from the regulator. In this sense, the Energy Directorate of the CMMC ensures that they are working in coordination with the consumption councils of the Autonomous Communities, which are the ones that know which distributors are not billing, and also maintain contact with the Ministry of Consumption.
For its part, the Facua consumer association claim to have received a flood of claims on this issue. “We have denounced the CNMC to open an investigation and it has not responded. We find it worrying that Competition has not announced the opening of an investigation or the detection of any regularity despite the fact that there are many users affected, “says Facua spokesman Rubén Sánchez. “The problems of distributors to adapt to regulatory changes are causing consumers to accumulate significant debts and do not know if they apply the correct rates, which is a situation of enormous defenselessness,” warn from the association.
Higueras believes that the large distributors were not prepared for the regulatory change in computer code, due to its difficulty in adapting the systems in the short term and the significant cost that it entails. “Some will have decided to wait for the government to back down so as not to have to undertake that investment. There is no other justification after five months. ‘
On the other hand, Facua points to a computer problem at Endesa, which has resulted in thousands of invoices being stopped issuing and collecting since September last year. With this, many clients do not receive invoices or have done so with irregular or estimated amounts that will have to be corrected in the medium term.