Energy companies refusing to sign up new customers
Energy companies are hiding from new customers, making it a lot more difficult for people who need a new energy contract to arrange electricity and gas. For example, the offer on price comparison sites is very limited, according to a selection of well-known price comparison sites such as Independer and PriceWise by the ANP.
The large energy companies almost exclusively offer contracts, including model contracts, via their own websites or by telephone. Due to the high energy prices, it is no longer possible to conclude permanent contracts. Providers are not obliged to be on comparison sites.
Eneco says it is not visible on the comparison sites "because of the market." In addition, the energy supplier wants to be able to respond quickly to changing prices "and that goes too slowly via those sites," said a spokesperson.
Essent says it is still on the sites, but that customers "are currently getting the best out of their current supplier." Vattenfall agrees and also questions the usefulness of price comparisons now that providers only offer one type of contract.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) continues to receive word from its own information desk, ConsuWijzer, that it is difficult for consumers to close on a new energy contract. The regulator says it has already received similar reports and has already pointed out to energy suppliers the obligation to take on new customers. The ACM emphasized that consumers should certainly report their searches if it they are difficult or unsuccessful.
ACM could not say anything about the number of reports, but a spokesperson did indicate that "energy suppliers are of course not waiting for new customers now." According to the watchdog, energy suppliers are obliged to offer consumers a model contract –– they simply don't do this actively, the regulator notes.
Energie-Nederland, the trade association of energy companies in the Netherlands, says that "in the current market" for energy suppliers it is "not attractive to be on all price comparison sites."
"In order to supply new customers, additional purchases have to be made, and with the current uncertainty about the daily prices, the financial risk of putting a price on the market is great. Purchasing for existing customers is already a challenge at the moment," said a spokesperson.
Reporting by ANP