Consumer association CLCV takes four electricity suppliers to court

The more international energy prices rise, the more electricity suppliers suffer the blow … and the more consumers are now at risk of suffering the consequences. Since the summer, the resumption of economic activity has led to a dizzying rebound on the wholesale market, where electricity and gas can be traded overnight. But it also has an indirect impact on households, to the point of causing, in France, a “Significant contractual insecurity” and certain “Particularly harmful processes for consumers”, according to the Consumption Housing Environment Association (CLCV).

On Tuesday, November 30, this consumer organization said in a press release that it had sued four alternative electricity suppliers a week earlier. According to its estimates, Mint Energie, GreenYellow, OVO Energy and ekWateur represent “Between 500,000 and 600,000 individual customers approximately”. In the country, fourteen years after the liberalization of the market intended for individuals, forty companies compete with the historical groups that are EDF for electricity and Engie (formerly GDF) for gas. Without necessarily having to produce the marketed electricity themselves, partly bought back at a fixed price from EDF.

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The foundations of these actions in court judicial system in Paris are based either on “Sale without prior order”, or on “Deceptive marketing practices”, be sure “Unfair terms”, believes the association. Appearances are scheduled for January 25, 2022.

Without explicit consent from the consumer

One of these four summons accuses Mint Energie of having resorted to a prohibited commercial practice. She reproaches him for having transformed, from the 1er November, without the express consent of the consumer, an offer running. Until then, this was indexed according to the regulated sales tariff, EDF’s “blue tariff”. From now on, it is set according to fluctuations in the wholesale market; therefore much more risky, as it stands, for households.

“These disputes are a reminder that financialization is now affecting energy. They require a case law ”, François Carlier, General Delegate of CLCV

Contacted, Mint Energie declares that the tariff change has been “Carried out in accordance with [ses] general conditions of sale and regulations, with, in particular, prior and fully transparent information ”. This was done by email, within the legal period of one month’s notice. Any consumer is free, insists the operator, to terminate or not his contract. You still have to take the time to read your messages to the end. “Reminder: your offer changes on 1er November “, indicated the title of one of the emails. The supplier specifies that, at the end of October, he had already sent a “Detailed answer” to the formal notice already given by CLCV.

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