Dutch gov't admits to using old figures when calculating energy bills

The Dutch government used old figures when calculating the average energy bill increase for this year, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate acknowledged to NOS after reports in AD.

On Saturday, Statistics Netherlands reported that the average energy bill will rise much more than expected - an average of 334 euros. In December, State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs still called such a high increase a scare tactic. But now she acknowledged that the figures used in the energy bill calculations came from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in 2017. At that time the expectation was that the prices of gas and electricity would rise much less.

In 2017 the Agency estimated an average consumption of 2,500 kWh of electricity and 1,100 cubic meters of gas per household. The Agency also expected a lower market price for energy. Statistics Netherlands now has the annual consumption at over 3 thousand kWh of electricity and 1,500 cubic meters of natural gas per household. 

The Ministry spokesperson did not want to call this a mistake, according to NOS. He said that, as always, the government made use of the most up-to-date figures, which in this case were from 2017. Last year the Environmental Assessment Agency did not have time for the annual forecast of price developments, because it was calculating the plans in the draft climate agreement, according to the broadcaster.

In the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, both opposition and coalition parties want to know why the government always maintained that energy bill increases of over 300 euros are untrue. GroenLinks MP Tom van der Lee called it "very bad" and "counterproductive" that the government firmly stated that the were wrong, "while the State Secretary already knew that she was using old figures." SP faction leader Lilian Marijnissen called this "an expensive blunder".

Matthijs Seniot, parliamentarian for coalition party D66, called the miscalculation "very unfortunate", according to NOS. "The calculations must be correct and that is not the case here. And we want to know how this happened and how we will prevent this in the future."

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