Source: Weinhold Legal, Legal Update November 2021
On 14 September, 2021, the Chamber of Deputies approved a government bill amending Act No. 458/2000 Coll., on the conditions of business and the exercise of state administration in the energy sectors and on amendments to certain acts (Energy Act), as amended, Act No. 455/1991 Coll, No. 634/2004 Coll., on administrative fees, as amended, as adjusted by the Senate (hereinafter referred to as the "Amendment to the Energy Act"). The Act was promulgated on 8 October 2021 in the Collection of Laws and will enter into force on 1 January 2022.
The amendment to the Energy Act aims to extend the protection of customers against unfair practices of dishonest traders. In particular, it introduces a register of energy supply intermediaries. The Energy Regulatory Office will now grant authorisations for energy brokerage activities as a new type of business.
According to the parliamentary version of the draft law, companies established by their suppliers for the purpose of mediating energy supply did not need to have an intermediary licence. The Senate version, whose adoption was supported by the Minister of Industry and Trade, introduces the obligation to obtain a licence for these companies.
Under the amendment to the Energy Act, energy suppliers will have to provide consumers and tradesmen with proof of price changes. It will no longer be sufficient for them to publish the change on their websites. Information on price changes can be sent to the customer by e-mail or by ordinary letter, but a registered letter is not required.
It should also now be possible to terminate an intermediary contract without penalty or financial payment as long as there is no compensation associated with the termination of the contract. The customer will also have the right to know exactly when his contractual obligation ends and the supplier will be obliged to tell him.
The amendment to the Energy Act also envisages that, for example, small entrepreneurs, sole traders or municipalities that rent municipal flats could terminate contracts immediately without delay.