One Mediation case:“Application of reassessment within 14 months as required by the energy transition law.”

BACKGROUND :

The claimant took out an electricity contract with ENGIE, the supplier, in September 2014. In March 2016 Enedis, the distributor, noted that the claimant’s meter (no. 345) on which he was being billed was the wrong one and that his use of electricity was in fact being metered by another meter, meter number 885.
On 22 March 2016, the distributor updated its IT system and informed the supplier of the meter error. On 20 April 2016, ENGIE (the supplier) received the rectified consumption figures from distributor Enedis, which covered a period of 1 year and 6 months from the tie the meter error was detected. Enedis’s rectification thus covers the period from September 2014 to March 2016. Before Article 202 of the energy transition law of 17 August 2015 came into force on 18 August 2016, consumption figures could be rectified over a 2-year period. Given that the customer took out the contract in September 2014, in March 2016 the distributor could reassess consumption since the beginning of the contract (namely 1 year and 6 months’ consumption).
For its part ENGIE, the supplier, billed the rectified amount in September 2016 (i.e. after 18 August 2016, when Article 202 of the energy transition law of 17 August 2015 came into force, limiting the period of reassessment to 14 months.)

THE SUBJECT OF THE DISPUTE:

The customer initiated the mediation process in November 2016. He queried whether the 14-month limit introduced by the law of 17 August 2015 applied in this instance. Should ENGIE limit the reassessment to 14 months as required by the energy transition law of 17 August 2015, or apply the reassessment proposed by the distributor, which complied with the 2-year reassessment limit that applied before August 2016.

THE MEDIATOR:

The energy transition law has entailed changes to the way rectifications of consumption are made, and has led to a modification of Article L. 224-11 of the French Consumer Code, which states that “no consumption of electricity or natural gas more than fourteen months before the last meter reading can be billed”. The law only applies to consumption billed after 18 August 2016 (when the provisions of the law came into force). The reassessment covering a period of 1 year and 6 months is what should normally have applied had the supplier billed it in March for instance.

However, the Mediator noted that ENGIE, the supplier, only billed it on 2 September 2016, namely after 18 August 2016, when this new provision limiting the period of reassessment to 14 months came into force. Accordingly, the supplier could only reassess the customer’s consumption over a 14-month period from the date of the last meter reading, which was taken on 1st September 2016, notwithstanding the fact that the distributor sent its proposed reassessment in April 2016. Therefore, as part of the mediation process, the supplier agreed to follow the Mediation team’s recommendation and limit the reassessed consumption to the 14 months prior to 1st September 2016. The reassessment therefore covered the period from 2 July 2015 to 1st September 2016.

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