Frequently asked questions


What is E-Control’s dispute settlement service?

E-Control’s dispute settlement service was established as a neutral intermediary in disputes between electricity or gas undertakings and their customers. Our intention is to help solve such conflicts quickly, so that the parties do not have to go to court.

 

What kinds of disputes do you deal with?

We handle all kinds of disputes with electricity or gas undertakings in Austria, be they system operators of electricity or gas grids or energy suppliers. Disputes with district heating companies are not within our scope.

 

What is a dispute settlement procedure?

The type of dispute settlement we arrange is also called alternative dispute resolution. It means that a conflict is solved out of court. Normally, either the energy undertaking will come forward with a proposal for a solution in the course of the procedure or the dispute settlement service makes a proposal that is then accepted by the company.

 

Who can address the dispute settlement service?

We are available to help all customers that are unhappy with the services provided by their electricity or gas undertaking, such as service quality or billing. It is usually the customer that prompts a dispute settlement procedure, but we also handle cases where it is the other way around, i.e. where an undertaking addresses us because of a dispute with a customer of theirs.

 

How much does the procedure cost?

The dispute settlement procedure as such is free of charge for applicants. However, if you incur other costs (such as for sending mail, making copies or even legal advice) you must bear them yourself.

 

When can I address the dispute settlement service?

First, you must bilaterally try and find a solution with your electricity or gas company. All companies have their own dispute resolution. You should find the relevant contacts on your bill or on the company’s website. Only if a first attempt fails, you can contact E-Control’s dispute settlement service.

 

How can I apply for dispute settlement?

You must send a written application for dispute settlement.

 

Are there any deadlines I must bear in mind?

You can address us with your application within one year after your bilateral attempt at a solution has failed. If you wait longer than this, a dispute settlement procedures loses its meaning. By then, events are so long past that the people involved cannot usually remember what exactly happened.

 

Is there a minimum amount of money that must be involved?

Yes. If your dispute is about less than € 10, the dispute settlement service can reject your application.

 

If I have already been sued or have sued myself, can I still apply for dispute settlement?

No. It only makes sense to apply for dispute settlement if neither you nor the company have addressed the courts.

 

Can I submit the same issue twice?

No, there is no double jeopardy, even if you are not happy with the result of the first procedure.

 

What information do you need?

Name, address and contact details The electricity or gas company you are arguing with A detailed account of what has happened and of the kind of solution you envisage; please note that it is not sufficient to forward your e-mail exchange with the company without adding your personal account of the situation. Any relevant documents; this might include complete bills, payment reminders, disconnection announcements or threats, e-mails you’ve exchanged with the company etc.

 

Can the service refuse starting a procedure?

Yes. The dispute settlement service can refuse starting a procedure

 

How does the procedure work?

When we receive a written application for dispute settlement and all the pertaining documents, we first check whether a procedure should be opened.

 

Will I need to come to a hearing?

Possibly, but they are very rare. We can solve most cases without an oral discussion. Only if the situation is exceptionally complicated, we invite you and the relevant company to an oral procedure or hearing. This is an occasion for all parties to present their points of view, and we try to find common ground.

 

What is the result of a dispute settlement procedure?

Most dispute settlement procedures end with a solution that resolves the dispute. We will inform you about this solution in writing. However, we also close procedures if they do not lead to an agreement.

 

How long does a dispute settlement procedure take?

This largely depends on how quickly the company in question provides their statement and proposal for a solution. We normally grant them a period of two weeks. Overall, we aim to find a solution in no more than six weeks, but in difficult cases, procedure might take longer. Normally, we manage to conclude procedures within two or three weeks.

 

Do the companies have to cooperate in the procedure?

Yes, they are legally obliged to provide a statement and all documents that we require. Applicants can end a procedure at any point by withdrawing their application.

 

Can I get representation?

You can be represented by a legal counsel or other person at any stage of the procedure, but you will have to bear the relating cost yourself. If your representative is not an attorney, they will need to have a power of attorney.

 

Is the result of the procedure binding?

No. If you are not happy with the result of the procedure, you can always address the courts with your case. Only if you and the company sign a written proposal for resolution, this legally becomes and out-of-court settlement and the parties can be held to it before the courts. If such a settlement is foreseen, you will get detailed information in advance about its legal effects.