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Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the CouncilShow full title

Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (Text with EEA relevance)

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ANNEX IMEASURES ON CONSUMER PROTECTION

1.Without prejudice to Community rules on consumer protection, in particular Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 1997 on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts(1) and Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts(2), the measures referred to in Article 3 are to ensure that customers:

(a)

have a right to a contract with their gas service provider that specifies:

  • the identity and address of the supplier,

  • the services provided, the service quality levels offered, as well as the time for the initial connection,

  • the types of maintenance service offered,

  • the means by which up-to-date information on all applicable tariffs and maintenance charges may be obtained,

  • the duration of the contract, the conditions for renewal and termination of services and of the contract, and whether withdrawal from the contract without charge is permitted,

  • any compensation and the refund arrangements which apply if contracted service quality levels are not met including inaccurate and delayed billing,

  • the method of initiating procedures for settlement of disputes in accordance with point (f); and,

  • information relating to consumer rights, including on the complaint handling and all of the information referred to in this point, clearly communicated through billing or the natural gas undertaking’s web site,

Conditions shall be fair and well-known in advance. In any event, that information should be provided prior to the conclusion or confirmation of the contract. Where contracts are concluded through intermediaries, the information relating to the matters set out in this point shall also be provided prior to the conclusion of the contract;

(b)

are given adequate notice of any intention to modify contractual conditions and are informed about their right of withdrawal when the notice is given. Service providers shall notify their subscribers directly of any increase in charges, at an appropriate time no later than one normal billing period after the increase comes into effect in a transparent and comprehensible manner. Member States shall ensure that customers are free to withdraw from contracts if they do not accept the new conditions notified to them by their gas service provider;

(c)

receive transparent information on applicable prices and tariffs and on standard terms and conditions, in respect of access to and use of gas services;

(d)

are offered a wide choice of payment methods, which do not unduly discriminate between customers. Prepayment systems shall be fair and adequately reflect likely consumption. Any difference in terms and conditions shall reflect the costs to the supplier of the different payment systems. General terms and conditions shall be fair and transparent. They shall be given in clear and comprehensible language and shall not include non-contractual barriers to the exercise of customers’ rights, for example excessive contractual documentation. Customers shall be protected against unfair or misleading selling methods;

(e)

are not charged for changing supplier;

(f)

benefit from transparent, simple and inexpensive procedures for dealing with their complaints. In particular, all consumers shall have the right to a good standard of service and complaint handling by their gas service provider. Such out-of-court dispute settlements procedures shall enable disputes to be settled fairly and promptly, preferably within three months, with provision, where warranted, for a system of reimbursement and/or compensation. They should, wherever possible, be in line with the principles set out in Commission Recommendation 98/257/EC of 30 March 1998 on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes(3);

(g)

connected to the gas system are informed about their rights to be supplied, under the national legislation applicable, with natural gas of a specified quality at reasonable prices;

(h)

have at their disposal their consumption data, and shall be able to, by explicit agreement and free of charge, give any registered supply undertaking access to its metering data. The party responsible for data management shall be obliged to give those data to the undertaking. Member States shall define a format for the data and a procedure for suppliers and consumers to have access to the data. No additional costs shall be charged to the consumer for that service;

(i)

are properly informed of actual gas consumption and costs frequently enough to enable them to regulate their own gas consumption. That information shall be given by using a sufficient time frame, which takes account of the capability of customer’s metering equipment. Due account shall be taken of the cost-efficiency of such measures. No additional costs shall be charged to the consumer for that service;

(j)

receive a final closure account following any change of natural gas supplier no later than six weeks after the change of supplier has taken place.

2.Member States shall ensure the implementation of intelligent metering systems that shall assist the active participation of consumers in the gas supply market. The implementation of those metering systems may be subject to an economic assessment of all the long-term costs and benefits to the market and the individual consumer or which form of intelligent metering is economically reasonable and cost-effective and which timeframe is feasible for their distribution.

Such assessment shall take place by 3 September 2012.

Subject to that assessment, Member States or any competent authority they designate, shall prepare a timetable for the implementation of intelligent metering systems.

The Member States or any competent authority they designate, shall ensure the interoperability of those metering systems to be implemented within their territories and shall have due regard to the use of appropriate standards and best practice and the importance of the development of the internal market in natural gas.

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