During a conference dedicated to International Consumer Rights Day, Davit Narmania, Chairman of the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission, addressed the audience about the importance of protecting consumer rights in the energy and water supply sectors.
"This year, for the first time, the week of joint consumer rights protection of 6 institutions is being held, the purpose of which is to inform consumers about the protection of consumer rights in various fields. It should be noted that GNERC, together with the Energy Ombudsman, annually celebrates March 15, the International Day of Protection of Consumer Rights, with various events. GNERC pays great attention to the protection of consumer rights both at the legislative level and in terms of implementing regulations in practice. GNERC's slogan - "When the balance is achieved" fully reflects the principle of GNERC's activity. Mechanisms for the protection of consumer rights have been developed in the electricity, natural gas and water supply sectors. In 2014, GNERC established a Department of Consumer’s Disputes in order to ensure simple procedures for discussing disputed issues between consumers and companies, where up to 20,000 applications/complaints have been received so far. GNERC adopted more than 10,000 individual decisions, most of which were satisfied in favor of consumers, the total amount of debit discharge by GNERC exceeds 25 million GEL. In addition, according to GNERC’s decisions, companies have given compensation of more than 2 million GEL to consumers.
In 2019, GNERC was awarded by ISO 9001-2015 international quality management system standard, one of the main principles of which is orientation on consumers. A number of projects have been implemented to improve the delivery of utility services. Among them, it is worth to note the joint project of GNERC and the Public Service Hall, within the framework of which citizens can receive utility services together in the Public Service Hall. We introduced *303# telephone service. Through this service, it is possible to obtain information about utility services and to apply to companies. Until today, more than 1 million citizens have benefited from the service of *303#. We introduced a simplified dispute resolution procedure. For the purpose of solving the issue in a timely manner, decision for a simple dispute is made at a public meeting without an oral hearing. Currently, work is underway on a unified user portal that will provide the user with all services related to the electricity, natural gas and water supply sectors in a single space," Davit Narmania said in his speech.
On March 13-17, at the initiative of the Georgian National Competition Agency and organized by GNERC, the Competition Agency, the Communications Commission of Georgia, the National Bank, the State Insurance Supervision Service and the National Food Agency, the first international consumer rights protection week is being held in Georgia. Within its framework, the regulatory agencies will discuss the reforms carried out in the direction of protection of consumer rights, the obtained results, existing challenges, enforcement mechanisms, effective consumer awareness campaigns and international experiences.