Changes in the downstream regulation

Flows of information between electricity distributors and sellers concerning withdrawal point metering data: resolution 65/2012/R/eel

In resolution 65/2012/R/eel, AEEG defined the standards and operating methods of flows of information between electricity distributors and sellers with respect to the metering data of scheduled and unscheduled withdrawal points (including the metering data necessary for switching), and also identified a technologically adequate solution for data exchange within the context of the IIS, in implementation of the provisions pursuant to art. 22 of Decree Law no. 1 of 24 January 2012, converted with Law no. 27 of 24 March 2012 (in addition to the information on withdrawal points and the identifying information of end customers, the IIS shall also manage the relative electricity and gas consumption measurement data). The resolution changes the TIV, the Consolidated Regulations on electricity sales to customers subject to additional safeguards and protected categories, establishing the following obligations for distributors:

  • measures concerning meter planning, to report data useful for the purpose of dispatching, and concerning the collection of those data by distributors;
  • redefinition of rules for data communication (including adjusted data) to transmission users, indicating methods and timing, as well as possible provisions if information is not available;
  • reformulation of instructions relating to the communication of historical metering data and data needed to begin the supply after switching.

Afterwards, the Authority included those provisions in the TIME, the Consolidated Code on the electricity metering service, and took them out of the TIV.

In a subsequent decision, AEEG defined the details of the formats of flows of information and the timing for the gradual entry into force of resolution 65/2012/R/eel (beginning on 1 February 2013 and by 1 April 2013).

Finally, AEEG shall issue an additional measure defining the criteria of the incentive regulation for distributors, to enable the timely provision of validated metering data to sellers.

 

Adoption of preventive and restoration measures concerning unrequested electrical energy and/or natural gas supply contracts: resolution 153/2012/R/com

In 2011, AEEG started a procedure to reduce the number of unrequested activations, i.e. all cases where end customers are fraudulently, or unwittingly, persuaded to transfer from one provider to another or transfer from the service subject to additional safeguards to the free market. In recent years, that phenomenon has undergone a strong acceleration which has caused an increase in the mistrust of free market end users and the companies which operate in that market, generating significant damage to the entire system.

That survey, during which consultations took place, was completed in April 2012 with the publication of resolution 153/2012/R/com. AEEG adopted measures aimed, on one hand, at preventing the phenomenon of unrequested contracts and activations and, on the other, at providing end customers and sales companies with tools beyond the ordinary procedures that can be activated within the civil justice system (or through the Consumption Code), which are suitable for restoring, as much as possible, the situation prior to the unrequested activation.

The resolution, in force since 1 June 2012 and applicable to electricity service customers subject to additional safeguards and vulnerable gas service customers, confirms what was already illustrated during the consultations:

  • strengthening of the requirements of the Code of Commercial Conduct in order to ensure the correct identification of the sales agent;
  • specific procedure for managing complaints relative to unrequested contracts/activations, with an active role played by the Consumer Protection Office;
  • restoration procedure aimed at returning the end customer to a situation as similar as possible to the situation prior to the unrequested activation, setting the rules concerning the economic terms that shall be applied to the customer during the transition phase;
  • activity of monitoring the phenomenon of unrequested contracts on the basis of information regarding complaints made by end customers, provided by the distribution companies, the Consumer protection office and the sales companies;
  • creation of a black list which lists sales companies which were found to be unrequested by customers;
  • the right of sales companies to adopt their own self-regulation protocols that fulfil the minimum requirements established by AEEG as an additional preventive measure, which identify the company department (other than and separate from the sales department) responsible for controlling and monitoring implementation of the protocol.

 

Launch of penalty proceedings to investigate violations concerning billing and general quality standards in the sale of electricity: resolution 462/2012/S/eel

The Authority launched penalty proceedings against Acea Energia S.p.A. concerning the following charges: failure to comply with billing frequency in the markets subject to additional safeguards and the free market; failure to comply with rules on billing actual consumption for the market subject to additional safeguards; failure to comply with rules relating to automatic reading for the market subject to additional safeguards; failure to comply with general commercial quality standards in the second half of 2011 and first half of 2012 in the area of responses to written requests for information and written requests for billing adjustments.

Acea Energia S.p.A. presented commitments useful for the most effective pursuit of the interests protected by the provisions which are assumed to have been violated, and it is waiting for the Authority’s decision, since the commitments, if accepted, shall result in the closure of the proceedings without applying the penalty.