Millions of electricity bills have not been issued for months: FACUA asks the CNMC for an investigation

Billing problems are causing consumers to accumulate significant debts, and also not know if the correct rates are applied, creating a situation of enormous helplessness.

Millions of electricity bills have not been issued for months: FACUA asks the CNMC for an investigation

FACUA-Consumers in Action has demanded that the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC, according to its initials in Spanish) open an investigation into the enormous chaos in electricity billing of which consumers are massive victims.

The origin of the anomalies is twofold. On one hand, a computer problem at Endesa has led to the fact that since September last year Endesa has stopped issuing and collecting millions of bills. On the other hand, the distributors have been unable to adapt to the new system of tolls and regulated charges in force since last June, causing them not to provide the marketers with billing information or to do so with errors. With this, many customers have since not received bills or have but with irregular amounts that have to be corrected.

FACUA considers that the CNMC should investigate the scope of the two situations and assess whether the responsible companies have acted diligently or, on the contrary, are engaging in negligent practices due to the enormous delay in resolving them. Thus, the association warns that Endesa's computer error started a year ago and it is unknown whether as of today it is fully resolved. Regarding the chaos in the issuance of bills derived from the new structure of tolls and charges in three time slots, remember that the distributors knew that it was going to start many months in advance.

The problems that distributors face in adapting to regulatory changes are causing consumers to accumulate significant debts and not know if they are applying the correct rates. This is a situation of enormous helplessness. Something that acquires special gravity considering that the CNMC itself has announced, hiding the names, that certain marketers have illegally inflated their rates taking advantage of the changes in tolls and regulated charges in June.

Prorated payment

FACUA warns 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 as many monthly bills as months passed in the error". This is stated 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.

In the event that amounts greater than those due have been billed, they must be returned in full "in the first subsequent bill, without the possibility of splitting the amounts to be returned". In addition, consumers do not have to pay any amount billed more than a year late.

The association criticizes that the legislation of the sector does not impose on the electricity companies the obligation to inform users of their right to pay deferred charges not billed as a result of errors. Something that is causing many families (those that have not received this information) an increase in their debt levels. They have to pay the high amounts that their companies are charging them in one go after having accumulated numerous overdue bills.

FACUA advises consumers who receive overdue bills that they can reject the charges in their banking entities and go to their electricity marketers to request the prorated payment in the same number of months that the billing error has lasted.