FAQ

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  1. What is NEON?
  2. Who can become a member of NEON?
  3. Why become a member?
  4. Why do you propose two different kinds of membership?
  5. What are the main features of full and associate members?
  6. Full member
  7. Associate members
  8. How can my organisation join NEON as a member?
  9. What are the benefits of joining as a full member?
  10. How much does it cost?
  11. Where does NEON’s money come from?
  12. Can NEON fund some of our projects or activities?
  13. We are not called “ombudsmen”, can we join?
  14. Our Ombudsman/mediation service is not from in Europe, what can we do?
  15. Our Ombudsman/mediation service belongs to a regulator, can we join?
  16. Our Ombudsman/mediation service is regional, not national, is that a problem?
  17. We belong to an energy supply or service company, can we apply for membership?
  18. We are a federation of companies of the energy sector, can we become members?
  19. Where can I find more information?

 

1.     What is NEON?

The National Energy Ombudsman Network is an independent European network, consisting of ombudsman and mediation services active in the energy sector, being entities for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) independent of the industry and energy services in their respective Member States and regions.

NEON’s goals are as follows:

  • To encourage the protection and empowerment of energy consumers;
  • To promote ADR in Europe in compliance with the recommendations of the European Commission and EU Directives;
  • To represent its members at European level and to link up with European counterparts in the fields of energy and consumer protection;
  • To facilitate the exchange of information, experience and good practices between members.

 

2.     Who can become a member of NEON?

 

Entities for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) independent of the industry, industry federations, energy services and their representatives in their respective Member States and regions can apply to join NEON.

Members of NEON must be autonomous and independent authorities, or belong to an independent authority, which is put in place and have received a mandate by federal, national, regional or local authorities.

To facilitate readability, members are referred to by the single name of “ombudsman“, whether or not the job is carried out by a man or a woman; whether it is a mediation service or ADR body and whatever the name of the organisation.

 

3.     Why become a member?

We aim to support our members both individually and collectively, in their work to foster positive change and increase consumer trust in Europe and beyond.

NEON aims to facilitate the exchange of information, experience and good practices between members, and also to represent its members at European level and to link up with European counterparts in the fields of energy and consumer protection.

NEON has lots to offer:

  • Have your voice heard in Europe – becoming a member of the NEON will give access to European institutions and stakeholders
  • Grow stronger – NEON provides opportunities for collaboration, capacity building, learning and issue-based policy work through our regular meetings
  • Peer exchange and expertise sharing through various networks and expert groups to improve the situation of consumers and ADR
  • Participate in different events at European level – NEON regularly organises events on various topics relevant to energy consumers and ADR entities
  • Networking – connect and exchange best practices with other ombudsmen
  • Policy and legal expertise; answers to specific requests for information on the sector
  • A chance to steer the sector by serving on our General management body, Administrative body and working groups (with the right to vote when a full member)
  • Outreach opportunities through our website, newsletters, publications, and social media channels.

Belonging to NEON allows an ADR body to join a growing network of dynamic Ombudsmen whose expertise in mediation and understanding of the energy market are widely acknowledged. Ombudsmen working effectively together increase the visibility of the sector, add to public trust and consumer empowerment, and bring further legitimacy to the important work of ADR bodies in Europe and throughout the world.

Living in a globalised world, issues are not confined by geographic borders, and problems can be best tackled when different perspectives are blended. NEON aims to welcome diverse views and approaches from a range of backgrounds from organisations active in and with Europe. By joining NEON, your organisation and staff can be part of this dynamic community.

Cooperation and exchanges of experience between ADR entities are also a full part of the Directive 2013/11 on ADR – See Article 16:

  1. Member States shall ensure that ADR entities cooperate in the resolution of cross-border disputes and conduct regular exchanges of best practices as regards the settlement of both cross-border and domestic disputes. (…)
  2. Where a network of ADR entities facilitating the resolution of cross-border disputes exists in a sector-specific area within the Union, Member States shall encourage ADR entities that deal with disputes in that area to become a member of that network.

 

4.     Why do you propose two different kinds of membership?

NEON recognises, appreciates and fosters synergy, which is created when differences in processes and expectations are acknowledged and open communication is used.

That is why NEON proposes two membership formulas: the full membership, more inclusive, and the associate membership, more flexible, without any defined geographical criteria.

 

5.     What are the main features of full and associate members?

1.      Full member

In order to become a full member of NEON, an ombudsman must work in compliance with EC Directives 2009/72 and 73, Directive 2013/11 and Regulation (EC) No 524/2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes, and has to fulfil the following criteria:

  • The ombudsman is a body independent from the energy companies and public bodies over which it has jurisdiction. It ensures a fair and independent treatment of complaints and out of court dispute resolution.
  • The ombudsman deals with disputes by taking into account any current legislation and regulations and respecting principles of fairness and justice, with no discrimination, and ensures the right to good administration;
  • The ombudsman has powers of investigation and formulates opinions and recommendations;
  • The ombudsman publishes a report at least once a year, available to the public; and provides details on its financing process.

Full members support the decisions taken by the General management body and to the positions expressed by the Association.

The admission of new members is subject to the approval of the simple majority of the full members at the annual General management body meeting. Pending this meeting, the candidate does not have the right to vote.

Full members pay a subscription fixed annually by the General management body on the proposal of the Administrative body.

 

2.      Associate members

Associate members are ombudsmen independent from the energy companies and public bodies over which they have jurisdiction and do not belong from companies or federation of companies in relation to the energy sector. They ensure a fair and independent treatment of complaints and out of court dispute resolution.

  • Associate members of NEON are autonomous and independent authorities, or belong to an independent authority, without any defined geographical criteria.
  • Associate members must justify their autonomy and independence. Those authorities have been put in place and have received a mandate by federal, national, regional or local authorities they depend on.

Associate members can participate in the working groups on an advisory basis.

Except for the budget of the Association, associate members do not hold voting rights. They cannot join the Administrative body. Their voices are advisory.

Associate members pay a subscription fixed annually by the General management body on a proposal of the Administrative body.

Associate members are subjected to the provisions of NEON’s statutes, and to the same modalities of accession and conditions of demission, suspension and exclusion as effective members.

Associate members can split up from the positions expressed by the Association, except those related to the budget.

 

6.     How can my organisation join NEON as a member?

Please fill our Membership questionnaire and send it back to our Secretariat for a first exchange of information.

Organisations wishing to apply for Full or Associate membership shall apply in writing to NEON giving the following information:

  • A letter stating that the organisation wants to join NEON
  • A letter stating that the organisation accepts the statutes and the internal rules of NEON
  • Legal status of the organisation and proofs of its independence towards, and not belonging to, energy companies or federation of companies in relation to the energy sector
  • Permanent address of the organisation with telephone, fax and e-mail and any other important contact details (e.g. foreign languages spoken, office hours)

 

7.     What are the benefits of joining as a full member?

Being a full member is a guarantee of independence, impartiality, and fairness, as you are asked to work in compliance with EC Directives 2009/72 and 73, Directive 2013/11 and Regulation (EC) No 524/2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes. Their independence is certified by their peers.

Full members hold the following powers:

  • Full members have voting rights over all issues concerning NEON’s strategy
  • A chance to steer the sector by chairing working groups and belong to the Administrative body

 

8.     How much does it cost?

The membership fee is calculated each year and approved by all members.

Please contact the secretariat directly for more information.

 

9.     Where does NEON’s money come from?

NEON is entirely funded my member organisations.

 

10.  Can NEON fund some of our projects or activities?

No. NEON does not provide any funding.

 

11.  We are not called “ombudsmen”, can we join?

Of course! To facilitate the readability of our statutes and main documents, the members are referred to by the single name of “ombudsman“, whether or not the job is carried out by a man or a woman; whether it is a mediation service or ADR body and whatever the name of the organisation.

 

12.  Our Ombudsman/mediation service is not from in Europe, what can we do?

As long as you respect the criteria explained above, you can join NEON as an associate member.

 

13.  Our Ombudsman/mediation service belongs to a regulator, can we join?

Yes, Ombudsman/mediation service belonging to a regulator can join as full or associate members, as long as they respect the criteria defined in the statutes.

 

14.  Our Ombudsman/mediation service is regional, not national, is that a problem?

No problem! Regional ombudsman/mediation are welcome, as full or associate members, as long as they respect the criteria defined in the statutes.

 

15.  We belong to an energy supply or service company, can we apply for membership?

No, NEON represents public ombudsmen, not company customer services. Indeed, we very much respect your work; that is why we believe we should keep in touch.

 

16.  We are a federation of companies of the energy sector, can we become members?

No, NEON represents ombudsmen with a public mandate, not companies or federation of companies in relation to the energy sector. But we should stay in touch!

 

17.  Where can I find more information?

Please feel free to contact the secretariat.