After the Association for Consumer Information (VKI), the Consumer Protection Association (VSV) is now taking court proceedings against energy suppliers seriously. The Verbund, Stadtwerke Klagenfurt, VKW Illwerke in Tirol and also Energie AG Oberösterreich are affected. The Vienna-based association led by Chairman Peter Kolba has filed a lawsuit against Energie AG at the Linz District Court on behalf of an Upper Austrian customer, alleging that the electricity price increase at the turn of the year was inadmissible. “And more lawsuits against Energie AG will follow,” says Kolba.
The reasoning corresponds roughly to that of the first-instance Commercial Court of Vienna judgment against the association and the legal opinion of the Tyrolean Chamber of Labor (the OÖN reported). Kolba explains that Energie AG failed to tell customers exactly why the electricity price had increased. In its general terms and conditions (GTC), the company refers to paragraph 80 of the Electricity Industry and Organization Act (ElWOG). This is presented as a legal authorization to change prices. And the customers were only referred to the general market situation.
“But it is necessary for Energie AG to present the precise circumstances in the terms and conditions or in the contracts as to why prices are being changed,” says Kolba. This is also important so that customers or judges can understand the extent and speed of price increases, as well as reductions.
Energie AG reports that the lawsuit has not yet been filed and therefore no qualified statement can be made at this time. As reported, the company itself has set up a task force. “Energy AG’s price adjustment of January 2, 2023 is still being evaluated and is being legally examined,” it says.
The amount in dispute of the VSV lawsuit is 5000 euros. Kolba’s goal is to repay an inflated price. He criticizes that the SAAM still does not have the legitimacy of a class action lawsuit.
Customers are advised to make it clear that increased prices are only paid “subject to legal clarification and reclaim”, says Kolba, who also criticizes that customers, for example, are simply terminated by the Verbund and Stadtwerke Klagenfurt in order to “judicial clarification of the admissibility of price increases impede”.