As a result of the negotiations between the Consumer Ombudsman and Caruna, the price increases announced by Caruna will not enter into force in their entirety on 1 March 2016. Instead, Caruna will reduce the fixed basic prices for electricity transmission by 25 per cent until the end of February 2017. This means that there is no longer a need to bring a class action in this matter.
Caruna will reduce its fixed basic prices for electricity transmission by 25 per cent for all customers and both of its network companies for the next 12 months. This compensation will also balance the price increase in 2017. Furthermore, Caruna has given a commitment that it will not implement new price increases in 2017.
Due to this change, the average annual increase in customers' electricity transmission expenses will remain below 15 per cent, calculated on the basis of the total price of electricity transmission including tax. For example, for a customer living in a block of flats and consuming 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, the price increase will be around EUR 23 per year. For a customer living in a single-family house with electric heating and an annual consumption of 18,000 kilowatt-hours, the price increase will be around EUR 140 per year.
A class action was one of the options proposed during the negotiations and the Consumer Ombudsman was seriously considering it.
”However, a class action is always the option of last resort, to be chosen if all else fails. A court resolution would take years to achieve and, in such a case, consumers would have to pay the increased prices throughout the process. We managed to negotiate the increase down to a reasonable level before it entered into force,” says Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen.
The negotiated solution between the Consumer Ombudsman and Caruna applies solely to the reasonableness of a single, one-time price increase, not to the overall reasonableness of electricity transmission pricing, which is monitored by the Energy Authority at four-year intervals. The Consumer Ombudsman supports legislative changes that would set an upper limit for one-time price increases.