Ombudsman to monitor energy complaints
10 August 2005, BRUSSELS — An increasing number of Flemish consumers are lodging complaints over their gas and electricity bills.
10 August 2005
BRUSSELS — An increasing number of Flemish consumers are lodging complaints over their gas and electricity bills.
The Flemish regulatory authority for the energy market, VREG, has received almost 50 percent more complaints this year.
The higher number of complaints has prompted Federal Energy Minister Marc Verwilghen to set up a temporary reporting point mid-September.
A permanent federal ombudsman's office will be established at the start of 2006, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Wednesday.
The ombudsman will answer questions from consumers and refer them onto the appropriate authorities.
Currently, disgruntled clients of electricity and gas companies can only lodge complaints with their energy supplier of the VREG.
"Handling complaints is essentially not our task. We grant permits on the energy companies, but we also want don't want to leave users in the cold," VREG chairman André Pictoel said.
"Last year, we received 400 complaints, now we already have 560. More than half of the complaints are about billing problems.
"Out of a total of 3 million electricity users and 1.5 million gas users the number of complaints is restricted. However, we take every complaint seriously."
Besides complaints over high energy bills lodged with consumer watchdog Test-Aankoop, consumers are also critical of aggressive sales techniques.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news