France: Energy Ombudsman publishes Annual Report 2018

Types of disputes received the the Médiateur national de l’Énergie (France) in 2018.

The French energy ombudsman, Jean Gaubert, has presented the annual report 2018 of his institution, Le médiateur national de l’énergie. The number of cases received was 16% higher than in 2017, leading to over 5000 cases treated. In the big majority of cases (86%), the solution proposed by the ombudsman was followed by the energy company. While the increase of disputes was general over all types of complaints, some types of disputes increased dramatically –strikingly, disputes linked to billing increased by 60% over one year.

Related to billing, the Ombudsman calls on companies to respect the back-billing limitation of 14 months and regrets that one specific company has still not solved the billing problems it has encountered for several years. The Ombudsman regrets that after 12 years of a liberalised market, some suppliers still do not manage to easily solve disputes linked to incorrect meter readings.

The Ombudsman also regrets that certain companies do not sufficiently engage in the mediation process by not respecting the deadlines for providing an answer to the institution or for implementing the solution they had agreed to.

In a market with increasing competition, the French Médiateur observes a rise in bad market practices, including unfair commercial practices, references to unclear customer service “prices” or trophies, “green” offers that are not so green and misleading commercial “promotions” with limited benefits for the consumer.

Jean Gaubert, whose mandate ends in November 2019, also used this annual report to take stock of the six years he has been in office.

Watch the Press Conference: