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Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission

Growing Number of Consumers Making Inquiries about Business Closings of Contracted Electricity or Gas Retailers and Salesperson Solicitations for Switching Electricity or Gas Retailers

June 21, 2019

Three years have passed since the full liberalization of new entry into the electricity industry retail market started, and two years since the gas industry did the same, with new entrants beginning electricity or gas supply to consumers in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Since then, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC), Consumer Affairs Centers across Japan, and other consultation counters as well as the Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission (EGC) under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have continuously been receiving requests for consultations from consumers concerning electricity or gas supply.

In particular, there have been a growing number of inquiries from consumers about the actions to be taken when they face the business closing of electricity or gas retailers with which they have made a contract; and requests for consultation from consumers about problems in which they have been involved concerning their switching of electricity or gas retailers triggered by telephone solicitation or door-to-door visit by salespersons.

To urge electricity or gas consumers to take precautions against such problems, METI hereby releases a collection of case examples of consumer requests for consultation that NCAC, Consumer Affairs Centers across Japan, and other consultation counters as well as EGC have received, and provides advice about how to address them.

Case examples of consumer requests for consultation that NCAC, Consumer Affairs Centers across Japan, and EGC received involving the full liberalization of new entry into the electricity or gas retail markets

Case example 1: I received a telephone call from someone who said that my electricity rates would become lower if I switched electricity retailers and I informed the person of my customer number written on the bill of my electricity retailer, my address and other information. Later, I found that my electricity retailer was switched to a new one.

Case example 2: I signed a contract for changing my electricity meter with an electricity retailer. Soon after that, I found that I had made a contract with an unfamiliar retailer different from my electricity retailer and I requested the unfamiliar retailer to cancel the contract for the new electricity meter.

Case example 3: A salesperson explained to me that the electricity retailer with which the owner of the apartment building I live in had made a new contract and switched to a new retailer, and so I made a contract with the new electricity retailer. Later, I found that the explanation was false and that the new contract also automatically switched my gas retailer to a new one.

Case example 4: I received a notice of termination of a contract from my electricity retailer due to its business closing.

Case example 5: I received a notice of interruption of electricity supply from the general electricity transmission/distribution business (a company in the electricity transmission sector) with which I have made a contract.

Case example 6: A salesperson solicited me saying that my utility rate would become lower if I made a contract for a service package of gas and electrify supply from one retailer.

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Division in Charge

Market Surveillance Division, Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission