delays in the electricity billing of homes and businesses that began last June they have resulted in significant debts for consumers. It is also very difficult to know if the correct consumptions and rates are being applied a posteriori to pending receipts. The electricity companies have blamed these failures on the actions of the distributors, which, in turn, hide behind andn the collapse of computer systems for the modification of tolls with the new rate approved by the Executive.
Industry sources explained to ABC a few weeks ago that computer programs “went crazy” with the approval of the new regulated rate 2.0TD. Faced with the inability to transfer the actual reading of the meters to the receipts, the marketers have opted for months to calculate bills based on upward and estimated readings, or have advocated for not passing receipts and do not charge consumers anything since June.
Now, the amounts owed are being claimed at once in some cases. As of today, the electricity companies affirm that the problem is being solved progressively and that the actual readings for the months in which the bills have not been sent are already being sent.
Faced with this sending of overdue invoices, Facua-Consumidores en Acción alerts that billing problems and the sending of all accumulated receipts are causing users to go into debt because they have to pay all the money not paid since June in one go. For this reason, from Facua they remember that users have the right to disburse electricity bills overdue for as many months as the companies have been delayed in sending the invoices to their homes or businesses.
The association has received several complaints in recent days. Users report that all overdue invoices are being charged at once. That is, the electricity companies are not informed of the right to have the charge prorated for as many months as the accumulated delay, according to Facua alert.
The association recalls that this is established in article 96 of Royal Decree 1955/2000, of December 1, which regulates the activities of transport, distribution, marketing, supply and authorization procedures for electric power installations. This regulation establishes that if there has been an incorrect operation of the meters or an error of an administrative nature that has caused delays in billing or the collection of amounts lower than those that corresponded, consumers have the right to make payments “in so many invoices Monthly as months elapsed in the error.
On the other hand, invoices with amounts greater than those due by the estimated calculation must be returned in full “in the first subsequent invoice, without the possibility of splitting the amounts to be returned”.
In parallel, the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) announced that it is monitoring the problem and the behavior of electricity companies in the face of anomalies that were taking place in billing. Competition has already reported that it is still in a first phase in which it collects information and seeks solutions. Once this process is finished, Competition may decide whether to initiate a file, which will lead to a more stringent investigation. From the result of this file, sanctions may be applied to the investigated companies.
Facua asks Competition for speed in its investigation and to make known the scope of the actions it carries out to clarify the events, as well as to report with transparency of the companies to which the corresponding sanctioning file is opened and the fines that may be imposed on them – if it is so determined.
In addition, the association urges the CNMC to investigate not only billing delays, but in the errors themselves in the receipts that are causing incorrect consumption to be attributed to users -sometimes, much higher than the real ones- or the time sections are poorly distributed, applying peak hour prices in the valley and the like.