Department of Heating Industry Inspection
The amendment to the Energy Act, enacted by Act No 211/2011, vested new competences in the ERO as regards oversight in the heating industry. The ERO is now responsible for oversight over compliance with the Energy Act, instead of the State Energy Inspectorate as was the case before the amendment. The ERO was responsible for oversight over compliance with price regulation in the heating industry already before this amendment.
Supervision and inspection in the heating industry
The ERO is authorised to supervise compliance with the obligations under the Energy Act and price regulations in the heating industry.
In the ambit of the Energy Act, inspections focus on compliance with the obligations under the Energy Act and also under the related implementing acts. Checks are mainly conducted to examine whether thermal energy is supplied with the State's authorisation (under the relevant licence) and whether thermal energy suppliers interrupt or curtail thermal energy supply justifiably and in accordance with the Energy Act, and they also focus on the veracity of the details provided by holders of licences to the ERO in their regulatory reports and on the occasion of checks of particulars in licences. These inspections most frequently entail checks of whether or not licence holders measure heat supply and how they bill customers for this heat. Compared with the electricity and gas industries, the ERO registers only very few cases involving interference with the protection zones of heat distributions.
Supervision over compliance with price regulations consists of checking compliance with price regulations, which include Act No 526/1990 on prices, as amended, and ERO Price Decisions effective in the respective year under review. Suggestions for price inspections are usually sent by thermal energy customers because of thermal energy price hikes. In this respect, the ERO commences investigations at all times, and these then suggest whether or not grounds exist for starting price inspections.
A significant portion of the suggestions and complaints received by the ERO concern the allocation of the costs of thermal energy for space heating and water heating to users of flats and non-residential premises, which is the responsibility of the property owners or managers designated by property owners. The ERO checks whether or not the thermal energy price charged by a thermal energy supplier complies with price regulations and whether or not the property owner/manager allocates the costs of thermal energy, billed by the thermal energy supplier, to the users of flats and non-residential premises equally. The method of allocating the thermal energy services and costs to final consumers in a property falls under private law, and any disagreements can therefore only be resolved by litigation between the owner of the property and the end consumer.