More NL residents at risk of poverty due to rising energy bills
Rising energy prices will increase poverty in the Netherlands, information institute Nibud warned. Director Arjan Vliegenhart confirmed a report in De Telegraaf that Nibud fears that hundreds of thousands of households could run into problems due to the higher energy bill.
Currently, 2.6 million households are struggling to make ends meet. Half of that group also grapples with debt. According to Nibud, a higher bill is problematic for this group. How much higher the account will be depends on many things, such as the weather, the quality of the house, the energy contract, and the heating behavior.
Nibud also spoke of an increase in energy poverty. That is when households spend 10 percent of their income or more on energy bills. This does not have to lead directly to poverty, but it is a problem that mainly affects less fortunate families.
The energy bill for consumers may be hundreds of euros higher now that the prices for electricity and gas are soaring. According to Vattenfall, a higher energy bill is inevitable in the coming period. How much the prices will rise depends on, among other things, energy consumption and contract. Vattenfall purchased a large amount of energy, and for people with a variable contract, it works out cheaper, but whether that will stay the case remains to be seen.
The story is no different at Essent and Eneco. At Essent, this concerns approximately 10 percent of customers whose contracts are about to expire. They will probably have to deal with higher costs. Eneco also sees that rates are rising considerably, which also has an impact on consumers. Eneco supplies around 2 million households with electricity and gas. Customers who run into payment problems can contact the energy supplier for an arrangement, for example. The companies also give tips on how to save on costs easily.
According to Nibud, the Cabinet can also help to avert a crisis in one of two ways. "You pull the trigger and lower the excise duties," said Vliegenhart. "But the real problem is on the income side. A large group is structurally in trouble." According to the Nibud director, income should be considered by raising the minimum wage, benefits, and the state pension. Vliegenhart believes that energy suppliers could help their customers with information and making minor adjustments, such as installing draft strips and sustainable lamps.
Reporting by ANP.