The Ombudsman cannot prejudge in advance the solution that will be found to the case. Mediation is underpinned by the principle of reconciling two parties so that they voluntarily find a solution to their disagreement. Both parties must be prepared to make concession with a view to achieving a satisfactory outcome to the dispute. The Ombudsman intervenes if no agreement can be reached during the discussions, and his proposal will be based on law and the notion of fairness; the parties have then at liberty to accept or reject the solution.
In 2018, in 90% of cases the parties accepted the mediation solution proposed by the ENGIE Group’s Ombudsman; in all likelihood this would suggest that they considered it favourable. Also in 2018, 85% of claimants surveyed after a mediation process said they were satisfied with the Ombudsman’s involvement.
Furthermore, the notion favourable to the claimant can be taken to mean the fact that the solution lives up to his expectations. The problem is that in the field of energy, we have noted that expectations change between the initial approach and the end of the process. In fact, the instructional guidance on the approach to certain technical or legal aspects of mediation enables the claimant to properly reassess his demands with respect to his initial complaint. Finally, a solution refused by a claimant is not necessarily unfavourable for all that, as the solution is defined fairly under law and can be the fairest solution in the light of the dispute. This notion of a favourable solution is not as yet accurate and explicit enough in the Consumer Code.
The parties are still at liberty to reject the proposed solution.