January 27, 2023

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Electricity companies face huge claims on Christmas Eve

Thousands of electricity customers have hours to decide whether to cancel their electricity contracts. Not least if they have to get back everything they paid into the contract.

How many thousands of electricity customers in Norway will say “one last thank you” to the electricity companies and try to get back everything they paid in their recent electricity contracts? No reply until Christmas Eve.
  • roared Walterhawk

At 23.59 on Christmas Eve, the deadline ends for more than 100,000 electricity customers in Norway. About 14 days ago they received an email from their electricity company informing them of a new right to cancel in their current electricity contract.

Many power companies interested in selling do not inform customers of their right of return to meet the requirements of the law. Many have only attached a link to the Withdrawal Term Form in their offers rather than attaching a PDF of such a form.

So the Norwegian Consumer Protection Authority recently issued an order to all electricity companies Those who are not properly informed of their right of withdrawal to send notice of a new withdrawal period.

All these customers can cancel their contracts within 14 days of being notified of their new cancellation period. There is no doubt. So, many people can now get out of their contracts, if they feel they are bad.

Assists those seeking refunds

But both Johan Geertsen is Professor of Law at the University of Bergen (UiB) and advocates at the Consumer Council believe that many of these can Get back whatever they paid in the electricity contract.

So, this applies to all electricity costs (not internet rent) paid in the said contract which you may regret now. For some electricity customers, up to 12 months of electricity charges apply. For others who changed contracts more recently, perhaps only a month.

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Now Olav Sylte, administrator of the large Facebook group “Demanding Cheaper Electricity”, will contact the Consumer Council and organize a possible class action by Christmas Eve for all those demanding full refunds.

– It is still in the early stages. What the Norwegian Consumer Council is saying now is very clear and good. But it must be said in any judgment. There are large individual differences in how this changes from individual to individual. But if there is a basis for a case, we will make arrangements for it, says Sylte to Aftenposten.

The deadline ends immediately

For most people who received a notice of a new grace period in December, the grace period ends around Christmas Eve.

– Candidates should exercise their right of withdrawal. Cancel the contract and get a refund before the deadline. The Consumer Council is very clear that many people here can get free electricity for paying in contracts where they are not given a valid right of withdrawal, Sild says.

– Last year marketing was absolutely intense. Sylt adds that if power companies don’t follow the rules of the marketing game, it won’t work.

In the comments section of the Facebook group, the discussion on Thursday was loud about whether it would be too greedy to demand such a refund.

May turn into legal proceedings

But while Giertsen, professor of law at UiB, and the Consumer Council both believe the law is clear, Inger Lise, director of the Consumer Council, recently warned Blyverket via E24 about casting a blue tint in the eyes of consumers.

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– I believe no one would be naive enough to think that companies would readily accept such a request even if it was legally wrong. There is an obvious risk here that someone will eventually have to take the case to court, Blyverket told E24.

Then she also said:

– We see no reason why consumers who are satisfied with their contract should not exercise their right of withdrawal.

A minimum of 100,000 applies

But if you do that at the same time, Thomas Iverson, senior counsel at the Consumer Council, believes you have a good chance of getting back what you’ve paid so far in the contract.

– Yes, if you exercise your right of withdrawal in such cases, you will get free electricity during that period. This is confirmed by the Elklagenemnda results, Iversen told the website Europower on Wednesday.

According to the Consumer Council, this will again apply to all electricity customers who have been notified of an extended cancellation period by their electricity company within the last two weeks.

About 600,000 electricity customers in Norway switch electricity companies within a year. And there are thousands more who contract with the same power company. Fjordkraft, Tibber, Gliter Energi, Los and NTE are some of the big electricity companies that have sent such messages to all customers with new contracts in the last 12 months.

However, both Fortum Strøm and Norges Energi, owned by Finnish power group Fortum, have only reported a small number of their new customers. Both these companies believe that most of the new customers have received good and correct information about the right of return.

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Power companies are now risking (small) claims on the old lady come Christmas Eve.

It is nearly impossible to estimate exactly how many electricity customers in Norway have recently received notice of a new cooling period, but Aftenposten has made a conservative estimate of at least 100,000.

Different practices among organizations

The aforementioned NTE alone has sent notice of the new cancellation period to 20,000 of the company’s total 90,000 electricity customers. So far, only one – 1 in 20,000 – customer has taken the opportunity to cancel the contract and get a refund.

But with the attention now generated by the 625,000-member “We Demand Cheaper Electricity” Facebook group, there’s reason to believe more people will hang on.

Norway’s largest electricity company, Fjordkraft, has denied everything to E24, who will have to pay back millions of kroner.

– As with Energi Norge, the industry company, we believe that the question of reimbursement is only relevant for customers who have not been informed of the right of withdrawal. Our customers have been informed of their right of withdrawal, says an email from Fjordkraft to Aftenposten.

However, Energy Norge, an industry body for energy companies, is not as confident as Fjordkraft on behalf of the industry as a whole:

– In the worst case, we are talking about billions of kroner, and a major bankruptcy among companies. They buy electricity from the Nord Pool, and there is only a small amount in the whole thing, Ulf Müller, business policy advisor at Energy Norge, tells VG.

Aslak Øverås, information manager at Energy Norge, writes in an email to Aftenposten that each case where customers request reimbursement is handled individually by the individual customer’s electricity company.

– We consider it unfair to refund customers for a non-defective item that has been received and used for a long time. This raises several legal and practical issues, which in our view have not been clarified, writes Øverås.