NEON, the network of energy ADR and ombudsmen, welcomes the regional mediation service for energy from Wallonia, Belgium, as its newest member.
“This new addition allows NEON to go to the heart of the European regions and will lead to greater consumer empowerment at the local level,” said Lewis Shand Smith, President of NEON, at NEON’s general meeting, held in the French Ombudsman premises in Paris on the 17th of January. The regional mediation service for energy is not the first regional energy ombudsman or ADR entity to join the Network since the Ombudsman of Catalonia (Spain) is one of its founding members. “We strongly believe that the right solutions for consumer empowerment may be found at the local level and subsidiarity must prevail” added Shand Smith.
The respect of the principles of subsidiarity was also raised in the context of the European Commission’s proposal for a Clean Energy package, which was launched at the end of November 2016. In particular, members discussed the question of switching contract and termination fees and the solutions to tackle fuel poverty with – or without – regulated tariffs.
“Walloons energy consumers will benefit from the highest level of alternative dispute resolution thanks to our work within NEON,” said Sabine Keirse, Senior legal counsel. The regional mediation service for energy (RMSE) is established within the regional energy regulator for Wallonia (CWaPE) since its foundation in 2008. The RMSE choose to become an associate member of NEON, a statute created to allow different types of relevant parties to join the Network.
Belonging to NEON allows an ADR body to join a growing network of dynamic Ombudsmen and ADR entities whose expertise in mediation and understanding of the energy market are widely acknowledged. Ombudsmen and ADR entities working effectively together increase trust in the energy market and consumer empowerment. “Our work as ombudsmen is not only good for end consumers, concluded Shand Smith, it is also good for the business”.