Unfair business practices is a problem in all Nordic markets

Nordic Energy Regulators face similar challenges with suppliers using unfair business practices. That was one of the conclusions from NordREG´s 3rd annual Monitoring Workshop where 20 experts from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden exchanged experiences and ideas on how to monitor the retail markets more effectively.

Three topics were discussed at the workshop: how to handle suppliers that attract many complaints, new EU rules to protect small businesses and challenges related to independent comparison tools.

Better cooperation needed between public bodies

The Nordic Energy Regulators receive many complaints from customers about suppliers that use unfair business practices. Misleading information, use of dubious sales methods and unreasonable contractual terms are examples found in all Nordic markets. The problems are limited to relatively few suppliers, but the supplier´s activities have severe consequences for both individual customers and the overall trust in the market.

  • Since the responsibility for consumer protection is split between several public bodies, a closer national cooperation is needed between the national NRA, Crime Authority, Tax Agency, Consumer Agency and other authorities with legal powers to protect customers. NordREG will map the situation and continue to exchange experience about monitoring unwanted market behavior.

New EU rules will strengthen non-household customers

New EU legislation that comes into force 2021 will strengthen non-household customers. This is needed, since especially small businesses in recent years have become targets for suppliers using unfair business practices. Rules for termination fees, more mandatory information on bills and access to effective out-of-court dispute settlement are examples of legal protection now introduced for non-household customers.

  • NordREG should continue to follow how the rules in the new Electricity directive are implemented nationally with a special focus on monitoring rights for non-household customers.

Nordic independent comparison tools have a lot to learn from each other

All Nordic countries face similar challenges regarding their independent comparison tools. The tools must be adapted to new EU legislation, the quality of the data reported by suppliers has to be improved and new functionalities have to be developed to help consumers in their choices of both traditional and flexibility contracts.

  • Given the limited resources that each of the Nordic energy regulators have for operating and developing their comparison tool, it is of great value that the Nordic countries continue to share experience and ideas to be able to provide Nordic customers with high-quality comparison tools.