Electricity traders have difficulty issuing receipts to their customers. These companies can only charge based on the invoices issued by the distributors and some of the latest regulatory changes can lead to significant delays. “We believe that this billing delay will aggravate the electricity price situation, there will be many consumers who, in addition to raising the price of electricity, will accumulate bills to pay,” says Javier Bescós, president of the Association of Independent Marketers of Energy.
The president of Acie explains that “In June, when the rates changed, there were many billing errors that can be justified by the large change made in the electricity bill. However, two months later we continue to suffer unjustifiable delays in the billing of the distributors. “.
According to Bescós, “these delays are mainly found in Endesa and Unión Fenosa (Naturgy), where we have gone from an average billing delay of less than 1% in May to a delay of close to 7% and 16% respectively. The marketer is the company that faces the client and these delays are causing a lot of anger in our clients and a loss of image in front of them “.
For these types of companies, this situation generates serious operating problems. “Operationally, it is assuming us a loss of working capital by having to buy energy without billing it in up to 16% of our clients and a lot of workload attending to the thousands of consumer claims, opening claims in the distributor and keeping track of all of them “. And he also adds that “what worries us the most is that, in the case of any distributor, we do not have an approximate resolution date, they simply tell us that they have system failures and they apologize to us.”
Naturgy, consulted by this newspaper, indicated that the delays were “specific.” In fact, consulted sources indicate that only 0.2% of their clients have delays of more than three months, for the rest it would be a single invoice.
The traders are also affected by the situation that is being experienced in the market this year. “Among other things, we have had to adapt all our systems, explain the change in rates to customers and advise them how to adapt, endure errors or delays in the entire market chain, bear 21% VAT on tolls and charges for our clients, compared to the 10% that we transferred to them, endure the rise in energy prices in clients with whom we had agreed a fixed annual price or bear the estimated readings of certain distributors since the confinement “, indicates Bescós.
This increases the cash stress that we already had due to the rise in prices because it is an amount that will soon be regularized at the end of the year. And to put it in context, in the case of many marketers, the amount of this VAT mismatch can be similar to their annual profits. “
The problems of adaptation also did not stop there. The speed with which the measure was adopted created a lot of uncertainty.
“Only 24 hours were given to start billing at 10% and the terms of the bill to which this reduction would have to be applied were not defined (only energy, energy and tolls, meter rental, down payment rights, etc.) This caused the stoppage of thousands of invoices until the tax departments made the appropriate inquiries and were answered, and until the systems could be adapted to bill all the correct items at 10% in an adequate manner. “