Four energy companies delay energy price increase after watchdog warning
Energy companies Eneco, Essent, Vattenfall, and Greenchoice, have all postponed their planned tariff hikes after criticism from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). According to the watchdog, the energy companies did not give their customers enough warning and therefore risked fines.
According to ACM, energy suppliers must inform customers at least 30 days in advance about a price increase. These companies did not do so, with some only announcing last week that their rates for gas and electricity would increase on October 1. Many customers objected to the ACM.
Essent will now increase its rates on November 7, De Telegraaf reports. Customers with variable contracts will find out how much their rates are rising on October 8. The company said it is “not obliged” to announce the price increases a month in advance, but it will comply with the ACM’s demand.
“Since last Friday, ACM has suddenly taken a new position on the communication term and without consulting Essent and other energy companies,” Essent said. The company is still postponing its price hike “in order to remove unrest among customers.”
Greenchoice’s increase will take effect on October 20 - thirty days after the company announced the changes. Greenchoice deplored the “societal commotion” that arose around this issue. According to the company, it assumed the ten days communication term it has been using since 2017 was still sufficient.
Greenchoice postponed the implementation of its rate increase to do justice to the “want of customers to be aware of changes earlier.” The adjustment will not lead to an additional increase in the previously communicated changed rates, the company said.
Vattenfall customers will get 30 days between the announcement and implementation of the price increases. Vattenfall said it started sending out letters announcing the increases on September 1. Anyone who received the letter that day will see their rates increase on October 1. For people who received the letter later, the rate increase will take effect 30 days after they received it.
Vattenfall said it was “surprised” by this sudden demand from the ACM and does not feel legally obliged to extend the term. “The sourcing market has become tenfold more expensive. The rising rates for our customers, ongoing concerns about availability, and the increased business risks are matters that have our full attention.”
Eneco is using a similar arrangement. Anyone who already received a new rate will pay it 30 days after the receipt. The rate as of November 1 will be lower than in October, according to the company.
Eneco is “of the opinion that it has acted in accordance with the laws and regulations” and “regrets all the social commotion in recent days.”