The consumer protection association Deco issued a warning on Wednesday to recall that the regime that prevents the suspension of essential services ends later this month and to defend changes in access to social tariffs.
“The warning that Deco intends to give at the moment is to remind consumers who find themselves in this situation where they can benefit from these exceptional rights, which [estes] will end on September 30, ”declared lawyer Carolina Gouveia to Lusa, specifying that, from now on, the solution is not to extend this regime, but to relax and accelerate access to some of the existing measures in case of loss of yield, but are not immediately effective.
Deco argues that social tariff access for electricity and natural gas should be changed so that eligible people can take advantage of this reduction more immediately and not just next year, after submitting the IRS statement.
“There are families who are experiencing or have experienced a major change in their income in recent months and who are included in the criteria for awarding the social tariff”, but, given the rules in force, “this analysis will not be done. that in the year comes with the IRS declaration “, which obliges to make this” deadline “more” agile “, specifies the lawyer.
In the case of water, Deco advocates that social pricing mechanisms become mandatory for all management entities – which is not currently happening. Regarding the possibility in force until September 30, that families with declining income can terminate contracts without penalties, even if they are still in a period of loyalty, the consumer protection association considers that this solution should become final.
“It is a measure that should become final, that is to say that he should be allowed to terminate the contract without penalties in a situation of unemployment and changes in income,” said the lawyer. The exceptional and temporary regime which prohibits operators from suspending the supply of water, electricity, gas and electronic communications to families facing unemployment and a drop in income of 20% or more, due to the pandemic of covid-19, ends September 30.
To this was added the possibility for families in this situation to request the unilateral termination of telecommunications contracts without compensation from the supplier, or their temporary suspension, resuming October 1, without penalties.
People who had difficulty paying bills for essential services could also, under this regime, agree to payment plans with suppliers “from the second month after September 30”, that is, from 1 from November.
Carolina Gouveia considers that the simple extension of the exception regime “would delay the problem” and lead to an accumulation of invoices, knowing that many consumers will begin in November the payment of invoices that were due, and whose value will be added to that. of the month concerned.
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In the alert it launched, Deco recalls that all the rights created under this exceptional regime “will end on September 30”, but promises to continue to monitor the social and economic impact of the pandemic and to do everything “To safeguard” the rights of consumers.
On Tuesday, the Energy Services Regulatory Authority (ERSE) recalled that the deadline for the ban on cutting the power supply to consumers in situations of unemployment, loss of income or infection by covid-19 is taking end of September 30.
In a statement, the energy sector regulator warned consumers who find themselves in any of these situations and have overdue bills, that “they should contact the electricity and natural gas supplier to request a staggered payment plan, thus avoiding the cut-off of supply on September 30 ”.