Consumers can now switch from the liberalized market to the regulated market for natural gas in order to reduce their bills.
What is the regulated natural gas market?
On the regulated market, “contrary to what happens on the liberalized market, the activity of the various natural gas suppliers is completely subject to the rules established” by the regulator.
This means that in the regulated market “Suppliers of Last Resort (CUR) can only apply to their customers the rates and prices fully set by ERSE. The contractual rules have also been approved by ERSE and are the same for all CUR”.
Who can switch to the regulated natural gas market?
All customers (home consumers and small businesses), whose annual gas consumption does not exceed 10,000 m3If desired, they can enter into a contract for the supply of natural gas with the supplier of last resort (CUR) in their geographical area.
- You can view the CUR for your region here.
What do I have to do to switch to the regulated market?
After checking the CUR of the geographical area, indicating your place of residence, the consumer can directly contact the CUR that supplies natural gas in its geographical area.
“The new legislation also obliges the CUR to make electronic contract forms available on their websites within a maximum period of 45 days. The CUR takes care of the entire switching process, without extra costs and other costs or charges for the consumer and without interruption of the natural gas supply.. The change process is simple and all you have to do is contact the CUR,” said ERSE.
How long can you stay on the regulated market?
The regulator explains that “the supply of natural gas on the regulated market will be maintained until the date set for the extinction of the regulated tariffs for the sale of natural gas – December 31, 2025without prejudice to the fact that this measure will be reassessed within 12 months”.
In addition, “consumers with a social tariff can under all circumstances choose to be supplied by the CUR”, which “also ensures the supply to customers whose supplier on the free market no longer has the economic and legal conditions to make the supply natural gas,” the controller said.
Does the change imply an inspection of the natural gas installation?
ERSE guarantees that the change of supplier “does not require an extraordinary inspection of the gas installationprovided that there is no interruption of supply for technical reasons, gas leaks or modification of the installation components”.
The legislation published in this context “nor does it require the submission of a valid statement of approval before switching to the Last Resort Trader”.
Is it possible to switch to CUR if the current contract has a loyalty period?
ERSE warns about possible costs in this case and calls on consumers to “check the contract themselves or contact your supplier to find out if a loyalty period is in force. You can always change supplier, but if this change takes place before the end of the contract and within a loyalty period, may have to pay a fineprovided in the contract itself and in the invoices”.
However, the “value of the fine should not exceed the direct economic losses for the supplier as a result of the premature termination of the contract”, the regulator warns.
How long does the customer have to decide what to do after being notified that their gas bill is about to rise?
ERSE says that as this initiative “is a modification of the contract terms, as foreseen in the contract, the supplier must propose and justify the new price in writing at least 30 days in advance with regard to the date on which the proposed amendments become effective”.
According to the regulator, “the supplier must also inform the customer that he can terminate the contract if he does not wish to accept the new terms”, and if he does not accept the proposed change “he may seek a new supplier, signing the respective contract, at the free market or directly with the Trader of Last Resort, in 30 days“.
The regulator also warns that the change of supplier under normal circumstances it can take up to three weeks and that “if the switch to another supplier takes effect after the 30-day period, you may be required to pay for natural gas at the new proposed price until the switch process is complete”.
What happens if the consumer has purchased additional services simultaneously with the supply of natural gas?
ERSE recalls that “the supply of natural gas is independent of the additional service (e.g. technical assistance, purchase of insurance or equipment)” and that therefore must be “contracted separately”.
So, “additional services don’t stop customers from switching suppliers”and the “obligations provided in the additional service contract” concluded with the previous supplier remain valid.
Can anyone who does not have a natural gas contract contract directly with the Retailer or Last Resort?
He canprovided that the annual consumption does not exceed 10,000 m3.
What is the situation of those who have a dual contract, ie the same for electricity and gas? Can you just switch gas?
Also in this case, ERSE warns: “if the current supplier accepts it, he can only maintain the contract for the supply of electricity, but it is possible that the contract conditions will be changed, including the price“.
If this is the case, “consumers should check whether the potential increase in the price of electricity (due to changes in contractual terms) compensates for the switch to CUR in gas“, and they can always “enter into a contract for the supply of electricity and natural gas with another supplier on the free market”, choose different suppliers of electricity and gas on the free market, “conclude a contract for the supply of electricity with a supplier on the open market and a contract for the supply of natural gas with a Supplier of Last Resort (CUR) or vice versa” or choose “an agreement for the supply of electricity and a contract for the supply of natural gas with the respective suppliers of last remedy (CUR)”.
Is it possible to return to the free market later?
yep. ERSE recalls that “consumers can switch suppliers as often as they want. The change process is simple and free.”, and asks consumers to compare existing proposals on the market.
How to complain when something goes wrong?
ERSE recommends first to “file a complaint with the supplier with whom the new contract was signed“, via the “available service channels (telephone, face-to-face, internet) or the Electronic Complaints Book”.
If the complaint is not resolved, there are various bodies to inform and support consumers, starting with the ERSE itselfand through “consumer associations, municipal consumer information and support services, and consumer dispute arbitration centers”.