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How are Mediterranean and Eastern Countries Doing in terms of Complaint Handling and Dispute Settlement?
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How are Mediterranean and Eastern Countries Doing in terms of Complaint Handling and Dispute Settlement?
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MEDREG and the Energy Community Regulatory Board (ECRB), representing Energy Regulators of the Mediterranean and the Eastern and Black Sea regions, joined forces to review the procedures available to energy consumers to handle complaints and settle disputes.The two organisations also proposed best practices.

 
This report maps out the current status and nature of complaint handling, dispute settlement and consumer awareness in Eastern Europe and Mediterranean countries. It is accompanied by recommendations applicable to disputes between consumers and their providers.

Based on a survey answered by 19 members from MEDREG and ECRB, the report reveals that regardless of the level of customers’ protection, consumers’ protection is gaining a growing interest

Here are the main findings gleaned by the survey:
 

? All respondent countries have energy consumer protection policies in place. In most cases, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) are responsible to review complaints and resolve disputes with clear procedures in place while in some minor cases other entities, such as judicial institutions, handle them. 
 

? In almost all the respondent countries the energy service provider informs the customers about relevant information concerning price connection and disconnection rules and fees terms of bill payments dispute rules.
 

? Consumers are informed about their right to complain via contracts, websites and leaflets.

?   In most countries, consumers raise a complaint through the supplier’s own mechanisms in the first instance, before turning to the regulator. Various means are available to customers to contact the regulator and to address their complaints, the most innovative being the use of messaging applications and social media.
 

?   All regulators have access to complaint-related data, which is ensured by law. 
 

?   Billing and metering issues are the most common topics on which complaints are received.
 

?   All NRAs must address complaints within specific periods, ensuring that customers receive redress or treatment of their complaint within an adequate timeframe.

?   In nearly all cases, including in recourses to voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures, the final settlement determined by the regulator or reached by the parties is binding, and in the case of a regulatory decision, subject to fines and enforcement in the case of non-compliance by the service provider.

?   As a next step, ECRB and MEDREG will seek to publicly discuss the findings of this report to bring the understanding of customers’ rights protection to the attention of high level stakeholders and ensure more accountable responses from the authorities.
 
Download the report in English, Arabic and French.

Best Regards,
MEDREG
Mediterranean Energy Regulators

MEDREG is co-funded by the European Union.
The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of MEDREG
and can under no circumstances be regarded
as reflecting the position of the European Union.






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