Some 1.5 million Dutch homes will be unable to afford energy costs by 2030: Report

Roughly 1.5 million households will likely find it difficult to pay their energy bills in 2030, a worrisome increase compared to today, when over 650 thousand Netherlands households have a tough time handling the price of electricity and gas. The research, from agency Ecorys and reported on by Trouw, defined households as being energy impoverished if they spend at least ten percent of household income on payments to energy providers.

Many of the families earn less than 14 thousand euros per year, and often are unable to heat their home above 18 degrees or use a television with any regularity in an attempt to keep bills low.

The possibility of a dramatic increase in energy-impoverished households over the next ten years is entirely dependent on the cost of energy transition in the country, researcher Alexander Oei told Trouw. Electricity demands are up, and demand for natural gas is the same even as gas production is slowing down dramatically due to safety issues. On top of that, the gas tax is rising to incentivize people to install insulation, and to find other ways to warm their homes and heat their water.

"I dare say that we are moving towards a housing cost increase of nearly 17 percent," Oei said. Homeowners could likely drop 258 euros extra per year over the next decade, he said. Other estimates have that figure reaching 327 euros per year. Tenants will probably see some of those costs passed on to them. 

"People are worried," Oei said, and the government knows it, allowing some tax relief based on energy spend. But it likely won't be enough to compensate for the fact that natural gas produced domestically is extremely cheap, and nearly every alternative is more expensive.

"The fact remains that taxes go up and the costs for energy production rise in the longer term," Oei said.