The Belgian Federal Energy Ombudsman has initiated a class action against several energy suppliers with a view to reaching a collective settlement. The action has been initiated through the Belgian Consumer Ombudsman Service, of which the Energy Ombudsman is a member. The Federal Energy Ombudsman disputes the legal character of the fixed fees that energy suppliers charge for a full supply year when the customer prematurely terminates their energy contract, thus creating a barrier to switching.
A notice of default had already been sent to the energy suppliers demanding to put an end to this market practice, which, according to the Federal Energy Ombudsman, is a contravention of the Belgian electricity and natural gas laws.
The disputed market practice concerns fixed termination fees for certain types of contracts, amounting to 60 euros or more per energy source (electricity and natural gas) for a full (first) year of supply. This means that sometimes customers must pay over 100 euros when switching energy supplier.
The Federal Energy Ombudsman has already received over 300 complaints from customers affected by this practice and has sent over 100 recommendations to energy companies, inviting them to abide by the law. The recommendations have generally not been followed by the energy suppliers concerned.
For more information, visit the webpage of the Belgian Federal Energy Ombudsman