Protection for gas customers
Early 2022 has seen substantial gas price hikes, with business customers hurting the most. The situation on the gas market did not go unnoticed by the lawmakers. Their response was a piece of legislation that took effect on 28 Jan 2022 called “an act on special solutions to protect gas customers in connection with gas market situation” (Journal of Laws of 2022, item 202, “Gas Relief Act” or “GRA”). GRA is intended, among other things, to protect household customers, public service or public utility customers, and other sensitive customers. For those customers, gas prices are frozen from 1 January to 31 December 2022 at the level previously approved by the energy market regulator.
Who is eligible for tariff relief?
GRA has amended Article 62b of the Energy Law Act (consol., 31 March 2021, Journal of Laws of 2021, item 716) to define which entities are eligible for tariff relief. These include mainly households, but also public service and public utility customers (e.g. healthcare, social assistance, kindergartens, churches), residential co-operatives and condominiums and other entities required to secure gas for residential uses by households etc.
Does that mean that businesses are not eligible for GRA relief? Not necessarily. In certain cases an undertaking may qualify as a protected customer, which will surely mean lower gas bills. One example is where residential premises are provided by an employer for his employees or otherwise for housing needs.
A statement is necessary
To benefit from tariff relief under GRA, you have to submit a statement to your gas supplier. Among other things, the statement should represent that conditions have been met for you to become eligible for the relief. The statement is made under the penalty of perjury so you should carefully verify all the relevant facts and ensure you are correctly categorised for relief purposes.
Not much time left
If the statement is submitted until 15 March 2022, the gas supplier will have to retroactively adjust any gas invoices issued since 1 January 2022. Any later submission will cause the tariff relief to apply only prospectively as of the date of the submission (no retroacive adjustment available).
Given the gas price differential between protected and unprotected customers, you will find it worthwhile to make haste with formalities and strive to secure reduced gas bills to the broadest extent possible.