In August 2021, consumers with an average consumption* spent €1637 per year for a new variable contract. In August 2022, that was €5524. With the variable rates of September 29, 2022, consumers even pay an average of €7237 per year. Not all consumers have the same rate. Personal offers may differ per customer. Existing customers usually pay a lower variable rate.
The rates vary considerably per energy supplier. With an average consumption, the difference between the highest and lowest variable rate in September is more than €3000 per year. The difference between the 3 largest suppliers is smaller, but always more than €1600 per year.
Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumers’ Association: ‘These figures show that it can be worthwhile to compare prices. Certainly for consumers whose permanent contract will soon expire and for those who have to conclude a new contract.’
Price increase reported too late
Consumers with an existing variable contract were confronted with price increases of more than 200%. Moreover, many suppliers will increase the variable rates for these customers again from 1 October.
According to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), energy suppliers must announce a rate change 30 days in advance. Eneco, Essent, Greenchoice and Vattenfall did this 9 to 10 days before 1 October. That is not allowed, says the ACM, which advises consumers to lodge an objection with their energy supplier.
‘Don’t give a damn about consumers’
The Consumers’ Association is pleased that ACM is clarifying the term, but does not want the regulator to subsequently put the ball in the hands of consumers. Molenaar: ‘If there is a massive violation of the rules, ACM must intervene and force suppliers to comply with the rules. Sending millions of people into a time-consuming objection procedure now is madness.’
Essent and Vattenfall have now announced that they will adhere to the 30-day term and that they will postpone the price increase. The Consumers’ Association calls on the other suppliers to follow this example.
* According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, an average consumption is 2479 kWh of electricity and 1169 m3 of gas per year.