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Consumer board: "Unreasonable" electricity contracts can be cancelled

Consumers should now be able to cancel expensive fixed-term electricity contracts without huge penalties.

Power lines
Image: Tommi Pylkkö / Yle
Yle News

Fixed-term electricity contracts can be cancelled without paying fines specified in the contract, in specific circumstances, if continuing the contract to its conclusion would incur unreasonable costs for the consumer.

That's according to a fresh ruling from the Consumer Disputes Board.

The ruling states that a fixed-term, fixed-price contract can be rescinded without penalty if the price is 60 percent higher than the average price of similar contracts and the cost to the consumer is 600 euros greater than it would be if they were paying the average price per kilowatt hour.

The case was brought by a woman whose contract with Turku Energia was priced at 27.5 cents per kilowatt hour. According to the contract, she would have had to pay 5,800 euros in compensation if she cancelled it.

Her previous contract had been priced at 3.90 cents per kilowatt hour, with a 50 euro "fine" for cancellation.

As prices for electricity rose last autumn, some people ended up signing expensive fixed-term deals, locking in prices approaching 30 cents per kilowatt hour.

Similar fixed term contracts are now available for less than ten cents per kilowatt hour, with the average cost of spot price electricity even lower.

That has left those who signed up for two-year deals last autumn paying much more than they would have done otherwise.

28.9: Clarified headline.

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