Households' dependency on electricity has steadily increased and consumers' expectations regarding the quality of electricity and reliability have grown. Fluctuations in quality and outages should not make consumers' everyday life more difficult.
The Energy Market Authority has drafted guidelines for evaluating the reasonableness of electricity network pricing in 2008-2011.
The draft proposes a change in the evaluation of the reasonableness of electricity network pricing so that outages and resulting inconvenience to customers will be taken into account in the regulatory period beginning in 2008.
In its statement the Finnish Consumer Agency considers the proposal well-grounded, in view of the significance of reliable electricity supply to households and other users. The important thing is for the regulatory model to have sufficient incentives and sanctions so that outages will be reduced and the quality of electricity will be improved.
The Consumer Agency emphasizes that the normal level expected of the transmission system operator should be high.
Consumers have the right to expect reliable delivery on the basis of the provisions in the Electricity Market Act concerning lack of conformity. Incentives require that the operator has succeeded exceptionally well in reducing outages.
In addition to outages consumers can suffer damage if the quality of electricity is not up to standard. The Consumer Agency believes that fluctuations in quality should also be included in evaluating the reasonableness of electricity network pricing in the coming regulatory period.
Quality of customer service
The Energy Market Authority wants to develop the regulatory model so that the quality of customer service is also taken into account in one way or another in evaluating a reasonable rate of return in electricity network operation.
The Consumer Agency also wants the quality of customer service to be taken into account in evaluating a reasonable rate of return. Lately the Consumer Agency has received reports that have drawn attention to billing practices.
Taking the quality of customer service into account requires the development of reliable and objective methods to measure this parameter. In addition to determining the level of service that customers expect, it is also necessary to calculate what value they place on customer service in money terms.