When Energy Suppliers Don’t Refund Overpayments, Reducing Deposits is Possible

Many households have encountered a situation where they have an overpayment in their annual energy bill but wait for months for its return from the supplier. On the complaint website, Vašestížnosti.cz, run by the organization dTest, people are complaining about the approach of the company Elgas, which in some cases allegedly owes them over ten thousand crowns on overpayments.

So, what do you do in such a situation? Jan Hamrník, a spokesman for the Energy Regulatory Office, recommends sending the supplier a written call for a refund of the overpayment. “If they don’t respond, we can deduct the debt from the deposits based on the so-called offsetting act. We notify the supplier that we will not pay the deposit because we offset the debt or part of the debt represented by the overpayment against it,” Hamrník told Právo.

According to him, the recovery of the entire overpayment is only possible through execution by a bailiff or court. For execution, it is necessary to have an execution title, usually a decision on recognizing a receivable.

“The customer can sue the court for this through a lawsuit; households consuming electricity and gas outside the scope of business activities can also do this at the regulatory office as part of a proposal for a dispute, which is an out-of-court equivalent of a lawsuit,” added the spokesman.

An unpaid overpayment of a more significant amount also means a breach of the contract on the supplier’s part, which allows the customer to withdraw from it. The withdrawal from the contract is effective upon delivery to the supplier, so it is necessary to have a contract with a new merchant already. The claim continues to exist. So, it’s not like the supplier’s obligations and responsibilities disappear when you leave.