From July 20th 2011 consumers will, for the first time, be permitted to arrange, terminate or vary a contract for the supply of gas over the phone or internet. As a result of new regulations brought forward by the Minister for Industry to improve competition in the sector communication by either phone or internet is now considered to constitute adequate documentary evidence for the purposes of contracting a supply of gas. The customer simply has to consent to having the conversation recorded and be able to provide a number of identification details such as:
- Telephone number
- DNI (Passport)
- Address where gas to be supplied
- CUPS code (Código de punto de suministro)
for the change to be accommodated.
The customer will receive confirmation of the procedure by post and has seven days to inform the company of any error in the documentation. The company ought to offer to assist the customer with terminating the supply in the old address as well as to offer to assist with the initiation of a new account.
The new regulations bring to an end a lengthy dispute between Iberdrola and Gas Natural Fenosa where the former accused the latter of unlawfully blocking competition. Iberdrola made the formal complaint to the Competition Authority stating that Gas Natural Fenosa refused to facilitate the transfer of 300,000 customers of whom Iberdrola had a recording of their wish to transfer their accounts.
While Gas Natural Fenosa were able to claim that there were no regulations in this area (as was the case with customers of telephony services) this has now changed with the coming in to force of the new regulations.