How can the Energy Regulatory Office help you?
- It will answer your questions, take into account your suggestions and alerts concerning electricity/gas supply, and address questions concerning supplier switching.
- It will tell you what to do when various values and financial amounts in the bill are at odds, or when the supplier is late with billing or fails to comply with any other obligation under the contract. (The Office is not competent to decide on any discrepancies in the billing and on ‘non-compliance complaints’ [= reklamace in Czech].)
- It will remind you as the consumer, i.e. the weaker party, of your rights vis-à-vis the supplier in the case of ambiguities.
- It will provide you with explanations of the manner in which you can terminate your contract with the supplier, whether the supplier can raise its supply price during the contract term, whether and how the supplier can determine the amount of advances, etc.
- On its website, the Office offers model forms for contract termination and other procedures for dealing with the supplier.
- Where the contracting parties fail to reach agreement you can pursue your dispute with the supplier in administrative proceedings, in which certain formal procedures have to be followed; the Office will clarify them to you and also outline the options for out-of-court settlement (Alternative Dispute Settlement; ADR) with the supplier.
How can the Office not help you? When should you resort to a lawyer?
- The Office cannot decide on whether or not a contract was breached or force the supplier to acknowledge a ‘non-compliance complaint’ [= reklamace].
- The Office cannot prohibit the supplier from imposing a penalty or order the supplier to return an already paid penalty.
You should consult a lawyer when you need a legal assessment of specific contract terms and conditions, a legal analysis of a particular contractual relationship, or an interpretive statement that only courts can issue.
Consumers’ submissions to the Office
The Office handles every submission that it receives from consumers in the manner laid down in the law. In practice, the submissions are as follows:
Formal submission under the Rules of Administrative Procedure (Section 37) (requests, complaints, remedies, acts in administrative proceedings, applications to open adversarial proceedings); these submissions must contain the details required by the law; in particular, it must be clear from it what the submission concerns and what is being proposed.
- You can make a submission in writing, or in person for the record, or in electronic form. An act made electronically but without a recognised electronic signature, which is not confirmed or supplemented in a proper manner within five days required by the law, is not a submission within the meaning of the law and is not considered. Under the Rules of Administrative Procedure, the administrative authority is not obliged to invite the party filing a submission without a recognised electronic signature to confirm or supplement this act.
Suggestions under the Rules of Administrative Procedure (Section 42) (in their submission, the applicant points to shortcomings in market participants’ practices and demands that the stated facts be subjected to a check or to the application of some other procedure within the ERO’s competences vis-à-vis the licensee). The Office receives and examines the suggestion and checks the facts noted therein. Where the Office concludes that the suggestion is justified it takes the steps required by the law, i.e. it usually initiates administrative proceedings, carries out inspections, etc. If as an applicant filing the suggestion you request so, in 30 days from the day on which it received the suggestion the Office notifies you that it has, on its basis, initiated administrative proceedings or a similar procedure, or that it has not found any reasons for doing so.
Suggestions can also be filed informally
The ERO’s Consumer Protection Unit addresses suggestions that are not of any of the above types and have the nature of a question, notice, or request for help or advice.
- Such suggestions can be filed informally and are not submissions within the meaning of the Rules of Administrative Procedure.