The Catalan Ombudsman highlights the importance of the mechanisms of supervision of energy suppliers given the imbalance between suppliers and consumers



Rafael Ribó has taken part in a conference in Paris organized by the Energy Ombudsman of France.

Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, took part in a round table on the role of ombudsmen in overseeing the energy sector on January 9th. The seminar, organized by the French Energy Ombudsman, brought together leading experts from different disciplines.

The Catalan Ombudsman's speech stressed the current imbalance between supplier companies and consumers in terms of market dynamics. An imbalance that places consumers in a situation of vulnerability that requires the intervention of supervisory mechanisms, such as the ombudsman.

"Consumers need that help and protection mechanisms be established in order to provide them with clear information and training to make decisions. Likewise, they require agile, effective, free and independent mechanisms to resolve the disputes that arise in these cases". At all times, the Catalan Ombudsman has emphasized the situation of the most vulnerable and least protected consumers. In this regard, the institution is acting ex officio to analyse possible violations of rights derived from the new social discount rate of electric consumption recently passed.

In the current context the Ombudsman has also the function to directly control the activities of the private sector that entail the exercise of public service obligations.

The liberalization of the provision of activities considered essential cannot entail the diminution of rights and guarantees for users. This process of liberalization and privatization of activities and public services has as a main consequence that the Public Administration is no longer the the only subject that carries out public service obligations. Certain private economic sectors also carry out activities considered of public interest or essential.

The Catalan Ombudsman, who is a member of the European Energy Ombudsman Network (NEON), stressed the importance of sharing in the European framework the content of complaints and claims in this area. In this sense, he spoke of high prices that include concepts of difficult comprehension, little understandable bills, complex procedures with companies and in the electricity market, technological innovations (smart meters) that pose new challenges and problems, environmental challenges, regulatory changes , etc.