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Fond za zaštitu okoliša i energetsku učinkovitost

BEUC presentation on Complaint Handling Citizens’ Energy Forum

4th Citizens’ Energy Forum – BEUC and Members participation

4th Citizens’ Energy Forum – BEUC and Members participation

Dear member,

On 26 and 27 October, the European Commission organizes the 4th Citizens’ Energy Forum in London. The Forum brings together Commission officials, regulators and consumer representatives to discuss issues related to the 3rd Energy Package. The Forum’s conclusions contain important recommendations to regulators and the European level decision-makers.

For this year’s Forum, consumer organizations have been given 3 speaking slots. With this circular we would like to inform you how you can contribute to give input to/participate at this Forum.

DG Energy, who is in charge of organising the Citizens’ Energy Forum (CEF) together with DG SANCO, has invited consumer organisations to contribute to the following 3 topics:

  • price comparison tools
  • alternative dispute resolution in the energy sector
  • demand/response electricity market provided by smart meters

At the past Energy Expert meeting, Forbrugerradet (Denmark), Which? and Consumer Focus (UK) agreed to take charge of the presentations (together with BEUC). However, it is very important that we can incorporate as many consumer views as possible in our presentations. We therefore would like to encourage you to respond to this circular if you would like to contribute with facts & figures or specific case studies to any of these 3 subjects.

Furthermore, if you are interested to participate in this Forum, please inform us as quickly as possible. DG SANCO normally only covers travel costs for members of the ECCG subgroup on energy (ECCG = European Consumers Consultative Group) but we will do our best to include you to the list of invitees.

The Citizens’ Energy Forum is an important tool to influence the agenda of European regulators and EC officials. It would therefore be very important that consumer organisations contribute as much as possible to this Forum.


Please give us your response by 15 July in case you:

  • want to contribute to the presentations at the CEF
  • want to participate at the CEF (subject to funding by DG SANCO)


Thank you very much in advance.


With best regards,

Johannes Kleis

BEUC’s the Energy Team



Johannes Kleis

The Energy Team


Croatia, Zagreb, 14.07.2011.


Dear Mr. Kleis,

We have to inform You that Mr. Ilija Rkman will take part of the 4th CITIZEN's ENERGY FORUM in London.

Our decision based on the importance of the (1) 4th CITIZEN's ENERGY FORUM title and (2) we relise the project "CROATIA - STATE OF THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND HEALTH ENVIRONMENT"

Mr. Rkman will prepare presentation with Croatian experiences in Energy Forum's area and we'll sen You in september 2011.  

He will to  contribute to the presentations and   participate at the CEF (subject to funding by DG SANCO)

Best regards from Zagreb





 2011/7/6 <Ova e-mail adresa je zaštićena od spambota. Potrebno je omogućiti JavaScript da je vidite.>


Dear Mr. Rkman,

Thank you very much for your email. We’re pleased to hear that you are interested to attend the Citizens’ Energy Forum. As I explained in the circular on this issue, DG SANCO is in charge of the invitations to this Forum and normally only covers the costs of ECCG subgroup members. However, we will inform DG SANCO about your interest to participate and will inform you about DG SANCO’s decision.

The attached document with information on complaint handling in Croatia is very interesting and will certainly be useful to enrich the presentations.

With best regards,

Johannes Kleis


Johannes Kleis 
Head of Communications


The European Consumers' Organisation 

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs

 Want to know more? Visit www.beuc.eu 
Rue d'Arlon, 80 
1040 Bruxelles
Tel: +32 (0) 2 789 24 03
Mobile: +32 (0) 478 50 85 05
Fax: +32 (0) 2 740 28 02
Follow us on @ beuctweet


For the principles and actions outlined below (as mentioned in ECCG opinion on Complaint handling in energy sector) we would appreciate your feedback on how those principles are handled in



«P O T R O Š A Č»

« C O N S U M E R «



Kneza Ljudevita Posavskog 48, 10000 Zagreb,

The Republic of Croatia

Tel. 00385 1 48 35 889; Tel/Fax 00385 1 48 35 888;

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Web-site: www.potrosac.org; www.potrosac.hr




The basic principles of the protection the consumers-buyers the energy


  1. Everyone consumer, of course and the consumer-buyer energy has rights and obligations (individually or contract’s obligations):

a)    Right to be informed, advised and educated in the energy area over:

-       Several usefully web-portal www.potrosac.hr, www.hep.hr, , www.hera.hr, www.plinara-zagreb.hr , www.hgk.hr , etc.

-       4 regional Consumer Advice Centres,

-       Specialised TV-broadcast “Potrošački kod” (“Consumers’ Code)

-       Daily newspapers

-       Specialised magazines, etc.

b)    Right to get the answers from the energy services providers in reasonable time(15 to 30 days)

c)    Right to sent the complaint to the energy services providers, to handle consumer’s complaint and to get (receive) the decision (answer) of the Commission consumers’ complaint handling

d)    Right to continue the complaint handling procedure over decision making higher level bodies (Court of Honor of the Croatian Economy Chamber, Center of the Mediation) or over media  


  1. Consumers’-buyers the energy which regularly (monthly) pay their bills have possibility to realise right to complain over pre-court five steps (degrees) to protect their consumers’ rights and economy interests:

1st Step – Energy providers’ Offices for energy (electricity, heating, gas )


2nd Step – Consumers’ Advice Centres where to get information, education,

                 advice how to make complaint and where sent it (electric energy

               buyers’ complaint form – in annex)

3rd Step - Energy Providers’ Commissions Complaints Handling

4th Step - Court of Honour of Croatian Economy Chamber (Complaint is usually to

               handling over 1st and 2nd Court’s Council

5th Step - Centre for Mediation (ADR – Alternative Handling the consumer’s



During all phases (degrees) of the complaint handling procedure MEDIA have very important role as the voice of public – from our experiences point of view, of course, if consumer-buyer the energy has right and arguments, media very often to push the procedure the complaint handling make faster. We have a lot of the examples that media to make pre-conditions that procedure finished in any of the 5 degree complaint handling and consumer to get positive decision.


  1. Consumers-buyers the energy which don’t regularly (monthly) pay their bills, based on the our experiences, they are divided into three groups:

a)    1st Group of the “consumers” want to use the energy but don’t take care about their contract obligation – TO PAY THEIR BILLS !!! When they are disconnection from the energy distribution network, they usually to “cry” and call us in the Consumers’ Advice Centre for help!!!

Our advice is usually to pay and after that to over dialogue with their energy provider to find the solutions to handle the problems with enrgy providers  

b)    2nd Group of the consumers which social problems (un-employee, small salary or pension we, based on the ISO 10001, usually to advice to (1) to inform their energy provider about their financial and social problem and (2) to send to the Social Welfare Office the official request with evidences and ask the Office to help them to pay the basic life needs. That group of the citizens-energy buyers we to advice and educate “How to energy savings” and

c)    3rd Group are citizens which TO STEAL THE ELECTRICAL ENERGY. These citizens are out of the consumer protection system and they (1) to pay the stolen energy with default Interest, (2) to cover the costs the again to connect into distribution network, and (3) to wait the call of the Court (in one Round table we saw almost 100 “models” and technical “model” to steal energy. That group of the “consumers” to pay monthly bills and their electrical meter to show the level of the consumption!!! BUT, their real consumption don’t to measure the electrical meter)



We have legal basic (Laws, Regulations and other Acts) about to liberalisation market of the energy.

But, practice is not still the same before.

So, all Companies – Energy service providers have MONOPOLY on the national level (as HEP – National Croatian Electrical Company) and on the regional, county and city level (Heating distributers, Gas distributers).



Croatian Consumer Protection Law

(2007 and Law’s changes in 2009)

 Article 1.


This Act regulates the protection of basic rights of consumers when buying products and services, as well as in other forms of acquisition of products and services in the market, namely:
1st right to protect the economic interests of consumers,
2nd right to protection against hazards to life, health and property,
3rd entitled to legal protection of consumers (beside all, and consumers’ the complaint to handle)
4th right to information and education of consumers,
5th consumers' right to associate for the purpose of protecting their interests,
6th the right to represent consumers and consumer representatives to participate in the work of bodies dealing with issues of their interest (consumers have their representatives in the all kinds of the decision making bodies in consumer protection area, of course, and in the Commissions the consumers’ complaint handling)


Universal consumers’ rights

Remarks about consumers’ – energy buyers’ rights

Rights to safety

Problem EN50160 is not in our tariff models and is not in “Energy Law”

Rights Information

Realised in total

Right to Choice

NO – Because of the Monopoly

Right to Representation

Realised in total

Right to Redress

Sometimes is realised – but, we based on the principles of the Participative Democracy to find the best and faster model during complaint handling process

Right to Education

Realised in total

Right to Satisfaction of basic needs

Beside basic needs, and energy – ISO 10001

Right to have a clean environment

We promote “clean energy”, “green energy”, to renewable energy sources (solar, wind and water as energy sources) and connection “energy and environment”


Right to protection consumers’ privacy

Realised in total

Right to protection consumers’ personal data

Realised in total



Article 8

(1) Every trader is required to enable customers to submit written objections, either the store or by mail, fax or e-mail device, and is obligated to respond to them within 15 days of receipt of the complaint.

(if trader, of course, and the energy provider, don’t to send the answer on the consumer’s complaint to consumer or longer time of “15 days”, will be punished over Inspection’s Decision with from 10.000 to 100.000 kn, or 1.390 EUR to 13.900 EUR)
(2) Every trader shall keep and maintain a written record of complaints from consumers in paragraph 1 this article at least one year from the date of receipt of consumer complaints.



1st step of the complaint handling procedure – holder is HEP’s Office for electricity customers




2nd step of the complaint handling procedure – holders are Consumers’  Advice Centres




«P O T R O Š A Č»                                


(Member of the Croatian Union of the Consumer

Protection Associations)

Kneza Ljudevita Posavskog 48, 10000 Zagreb, Republic Croatia

Tel. 00385 1 48 35 889; Tel/Fax 00385 1 48 35 888;

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(Complaints of the consumers-buyers of the electric energy)



Date of the Complaint

Consumer's Name, Surname and Address

Consumer's contact phone, fax, mobile or e-mail address







Consumer's complaint received over phone

The duration of a telephone conversation with the consumer

Complaint received over

a) by phone


b) fax

Complaint received over


c) e-mail




Category electricity customer

a) do 2.000 kWh/ per year

b) 2.000 do 3.000 kWh/per year

c) over 3.000 kWh/per year

Average monthly advance

a) over summer



b) over winter


Do you pay monthly bills on the basis of self-reading the electric meter

Did you sign the contract with HEP d.d. about self-reading electric-meter

What kind of meter you have ?

1 – tariff

2 – tariff

3 - pre-paid


PROBLEM DESCRIPTION OF CONSUMERS WITH DISTRIBUTION      ____________________________________

(to write the name of the Distribution   Area)







Are you up to today sent

complaint (in writing or orally form in accordance with Article 8 of the Law on Consumer Protection) Customer Service Your Elektra ?



a)    YES



b)    NO



Do you have a problem with the level of   current voltage to EN 50160?


a) 220V do 230V

b) 200V do 220V

c) 180V do 200V

d) voltage lower than















In Zagrebu ___________________, 20____. Year



Consumer's signature                                                               Adviser's signature


____________________________     L.S.                   _____________________________



Annexes (documentation) required to resolve consumer complaints:


-          Copy (copies) of bill(s)

-          Copy of consumer’s complaint(s) sent to energy provider

-          Copy of energy provider answer(s)

-          Photos and

-          Other documents and facts important to complaint handling



Article 24

(1) For the purposes of this Act shall be considered public service:


  • electricity distribution,
  • electricity,
  • gas distribution,
  • gas supply,
  • heat distribution,
  • heat supply,

drinking water supply, drainage and wastewater treatment, transportation of passengers in public transport, postal services, cleaning, waste disposal, maintenance of cemeteries and crematoria, and transportation of the deceased, Chimney sweeping and public telecommunications services.
(2) Sales to consumers of public services must be calculated using the price determined by special regulations
(3) Sales to consumers of public services, when the nature of public services is allowed, must be calculated according to consumption.
(4) Service readings of measuring devices are not allowed to charge, except where the consumer requires non-standard reading of specific regulation.
(5) The merchant must enable customers to meet in advance with all the terms and conditions of public services and the conditions publicly announced in the media.
(6) body that decides on the rights and obligations of consumers of public services, must establish an advisory body which will include representatives ofconsumer associations, will make a decision after the advisory opinion, in a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory manner.
(7) A trader who provides a public service must establish a commission for consumer complaint in which they should be representatives from consumer protection associations. The Commission has written to respond to consumer complaints received within 30 days of receipt of the complaint.

 Complaints Commission Handling   is 3rd step (degree) of the complaint consumer’s handling procedure

Consumers’ representatives as Complaints Commission’s Handling   member have right:

-      To discuss about complaint, give their opinions, suggestions and proposal the Commission’s decision

-      To vote about Commission’s decision

It’s way to realise the consumers’ right to represent in the decision making bodies (right the consumers’ voice to heard)


(8) Advisory bodies referred to in paragraph 6 of this Article or the Commission for consumer complaints in paragraph 7 this Article shall be financed by bodies that are established in accordance with its internal regulations.

(9) claim compensation for public services, as well as for all household expenses to be paid in regular monthly or quarterly terms, the statute of limitations for one year.


Connection to the distribution network

Article 25

A trader who provides public service through the distribution network must provide consumers with access to the distribution network and use connections and networks and providing services in accordance with special regulations, concession agreements or regulations of local government in whose territory the service is provided under non-discriminatory, pre-known and contractual terms.

Termination of public service

Article 26

(1) If the account is a public service providers challenged in any court or out of court proceedings, a regular customer is responsible for all the following undisputed accounts, merchant - a provider of public services the consumer may not suspend the provision of services until the completion of the said court or out of court proceedings.



Pre-condition that is fact – consumer-buyer before complaint handling procedure pay the bill in average amountduring last three months


(2) If the provider of public services stopped providing services before the competent authority or person informed of the proceedings instituted under paragraph 1 this Article, shall begin again and continue to provide service to the customer until the completion of judicial or out of court proceedings.
(3) The obligation referred to in paragraph 1 and 2 this article refers to the case when the provider of public services to proceed enforced collection against consumers.
(4) judicial or extrajudicial proceedings under paragraph 1 and 2 this Article shall be provided for each procedure applicable regulations, and any action under the general conditions or other rules of public service providers.

Maintaining the quality of public services

Article 27

A trader who provides a public service must maintain the quality of public services in accordance with law, regulations and rules of the profession


Comment: provider of electrical energy according EN 50160 – 230 V and 50 Hz !!!

                   If consumer to got energy with < 230 V (170V – 210V, so called “gray


                   Namely, EN 50160 is guarantee of the household devices and electrical

                   Network (electrical installation)


Article 28

(1) Bodies that grant authority for provision of public services shall ensure, each within the scope of its statutory responsibilities, the holder of this authority provides services taking into account the safety, regularity and quality of public services and that public services equally accessible to all consumers.
(2) The competent authorities referred to in paragraph 1 this Article are obliged to create conditions for competition in public services.


1. Clarity

The complaints handling process must be transparent. The steps to take and the roles of each relevant party along the process must be clearly defined.

Consumer representatives in the decision making decisions – complaints handling bodies are Guarantee of the transparent of complaints handling process – it’s Croatian practice from September 2003. Until today



2. Alternative dispute settlement


If an alternative dispute settlement procedure exists, it must be clear what the enforcement limits of this process are. Consumers must be informed whether their energy company must comply with the recommendation or not.



Article 130

(1) In the event of a dispute between the consumer and the merchant may submit a proposal for Conciliation Mediation Centre of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Centre for Mediation Croatian Chamber of Trades and Conciliation Centre of the Croatian Association of Employers, as well as the application to the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Court of Honour of the Croatian chamber.
(2) before the Conciliation Mediation Centre in paragraph 1 this Article shall be conducted in accordance with the Rules of Conciliation of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Rules of Conciliation of the Croatian Chamber, and the Mediation Rules of the Croatian Association of Employers.
(3) The courts of honour in paragraph 1 this Article shall be conducted in accordance with the Rules of the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Rules of the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of Crafts which should provide that in the councils of these courts, except independent legal experts must be equally represented by representatives of traders and consumers.

 4th step (A D R   degree)

of the consumers complaints handling over COURT OF HONOUR OFTHE CROATIAN ECONOMY CHAMBER (national level).

Members of the Court’s of Honour Council are nominated the

Consumer protection associations’ representatives


 5th step (A D R     degree)

of the consumers complaints handling over   MEDIATION CENTERS (national level).

Members of the Court’s of Honour Council are nominated the

Consumer protection associations’ representatives (which have licence for Mediations)  


(4) Croatian Chamber of Economy, Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Employers' Association will be the minister responsible for consumer protection to make a decision on the costs of mediation in consumer disputes, or in proceedings before the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of Trades, which will determine the level of fees, awards and other costs of mediation and the procedures in paragraph 1 this article.
(5) The settlement reached in conciliation proceedings before the centres of the first paragraph this article has the property enforceable documents.
(6) Funds for the costs of mediation before the Conciliation Centre of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Centre for Mediation Croatian Chamber of Trades and Conciliation Centre of the Croatian Association of Employers and the proceedings before the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Court of Honour of the Croatian Chamber of paragraph 1 this article will be provided in the state budget.

 Over Court of Honour of the Croatian Economy Chamber over ADR model to complaints handling:

-       Individually private person-consumer against the company (trade, service provider)

-       Company (trader, service provider) against Individually private person-consumer

-       Company against Company

In all situation of the ADR complaint handling in Court’s of Honour Council and representatives of the consumer protection associations


3. Information and communication

All relevant information on the process, competences, responsibilities and alternatives must be easily available to consumers. A first and important step is to place relevant data on the bill consumers receive.




On that web-address consumers-buyers the electrical energy are able to find the 30 FAQ (Frequently asked questions ) – questions, with short explanations and answers + definition all words in the our publication “Consumers’ Dictionary”



National Croatian Electricity Company’s (HEP) “Home page” in English language



HEP and customers


Customer relations

Consumer protection award

Electricity customers, in a poll conducted in the second half of 2003 by National Center for Consumer Education and Information, ranked HEP among 50 Croatian companies "with good products or services". Based on the poll, HEP received award  "for simplifying the calculation of electricity consumption and for protection of electricity consumers",

Cooperation with consumer protection associations

HEP was one of the first companies to recognize consumer associations as relevant interlocutors, almost at the very beginning of their formation.

As early as 2000 the first meeting was held concerning HEP's request for change of electricity price for the residential category. Consumer associations have been kept up to date with legislative changes and news pertaining to customer relations as the electricity market opens.

Complaint commissions

In accordance with Consumer Protection Act, in 21 Distribution areas (DA) of HEP (Distribution System Operator),in HEP Heating and in HEP Gas, commissions were set up for consumer complaints. The commissions are composed of representatives of individual HEP companies or areas and representatives of consumer associations.

HEP’s   21 Distribution areas in September 2003. Established their Complaint Commissions and work based on same model:


1st member – HEP’s DA representative

Commission’s President

2nd member - HEP’s DA representative

Commission’s member

3rd member - HEP’s DA representative

Commission’s member

4th member - representatives of consumer associations

Commission’s Vice-president

5th member - representatives of consumer associations

Commission’s member

21 x 3 HEP’s DA representative = 63 (60%) members on national level



21 x 2 representatives of consumer associations = 42 (40%) members on national level

In the complaint procedure  customers file a complaint with the relevant department of their electricity distribution company. Customers not satisfied with a reply they have received can turn to Consumer Complaint Commission. The Commission decides whether the complaint is justifiable and informs the customer accordingly.



Croatian Energy Regulatory Agency’s “Home page” in English language



HERA has founded advisory and professional bodies, which participate in particular activities and fields HERA deals with.
There are two Councils that work within the framework of HERA:

  • Council for Regulatory Affairs (has consumers' representatives in Council)
  • Council for Consumer Protection (has consumers' representatives in Council)



4. A swift process

It is also necessary that the complaint does not take long to be resolved. In many ways, the conclusion of a complaint should arrive at a period of time that can demonstrate a 'cause and effect' of the action from the consumer to contact their energy company or other responsible body to seek information and, eventually, redress.

Sometimes, complaints handling process are long. Especially, if complaint is (1) complex, (2) handling need to make expertise and ask the opinions of the Court experts (engineer which has licence to make expertise) and (3) complaint is subject of the handling over all handling process degrees (steps) !!

Redress is problem in case if especially electrical energy has no quality according the orders EN 50160 what is reason of the damage on the household device.




5. No costs for consumers

Complaints handling process should entail no costs for consumers. Handling a complaint by a consumer is after all part of the communication of a company with their clients. Part of the price consumers pay includes services and the handling of complaints is a service.





6. No disconnection during a dispute

There should be no energy disconnection (or threat of) during the time of a complaint and later during a dispute between the consumer and their energy company.


It’s regulated in the Article 26, Croatian Consumer Protection Law !!!

But, are disconnection 2 groups of consumers which don’t pay their bills or to steal energy (to see the explanation in the INTRODUCTORY REMARKS)


7. Registration and classification of complaints

Statistical separation between complaints and general enquiries is important, but both should be reported as evidence of market developments.


-       Everyone consumer’s complaint is register in archive (evidences) of the Consumers’ Advice Centres, Ministry of the Economy in Central Consumer Protection System and in Energy services providers

-       Complaints are classified according:  

a)     Content of the consumers’ complaints

b)    Complaint is handled and accepted

c)     Complaint is reject

d)    Complaint was (were) handling over several level (steps) of handling process

e)     Based on the content of complaints and evidence number of the complaint finished positive or negative holder complaint handling proposal the change of the:

- Acts in the energy area

- Acts in consumer protection area in general and

- Commercial practice of the Companies - energy providers


8. Privacy and confidentiality

It is important from a consumer perspective that privacy and confidentiality of personal data is guaranteed throughout the complaint process.


During complaint handling procedure responsible holders take care about consumers’ privacy based on the orders of the

-       Consumer protection Law, Article 7.

-       Law on Personal Data Protection


We to send and attachment Public Consultation Questionnaire concerning the "Harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints and enquiries" (September 2009).

In that attachment You will able to find details usefully for Energy Forum.


Zagreb, 07.10.2010.






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