The energy transition
The Netherlands faces the daunting task of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. That is why the Netherlands focuses on sustainable energy. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (green energy) is called the ‘energy transition’. During this energy transition, people and businesses should be able to rely on a well-functioning energy market.
In 2020-2021, ACM will focus on the following two subtopics:
1. Consumer problems in the energy transition
How do I turn my home into a green home? What renewable-energy options do I have? And how much does it cost? Everyone will have to deal with the energy transition at some point, and will have to make several important choices with possibly significant financial consequences. The energy market itself is also evolving during this transition, as many new providers enter this market. ACM thus sees new problems emerging. For example, more and more companies make promises in their ads about energy conservation and lower emissions. Many consumers appreciate such causes, and are willing to pay more for them. However, how are consumers able to make well-informed choices? First of all, businesses must provide correct and easy-to-understand information about their products and services. Consumers must be able to rely on that. Over the next couple of years, ACM wishes to devote extra attention to consumer information about sustainable energy products and services, for example by explaining to individuals and businesses about their rights and obligations, and by launching investigations, and, where necessary, taking enforcement action.
2. Roles and duties of system operators in the energy transition
Network companies and system operators see opportunities in the energy transition for new activities. Society, too, asks more of system operators in the transition towards alternative sustainable energy sources such as solar power, wind power, and heat. In that context, system operators have to make a lot of investments. This will have consequences for the network costs that consumers have to pay. New electricity-production facilities are expected to create a surge in demand for transport capacity. Think of offshore wind farms, solar panels, charging stations, and data centers. Over the next couple of years, ACM will closely monitor the roles and duties of system operators. For example, it will check the system operators’ plans for overinvestments and underinvestments so that the energy market will continue to function properly and that, during the energy transition, the system operators do not incur more costs than necessary. And ACM will continue to make sure that network companies do not engage in activities that are reserved for commercial companies.
In 2020, ACM will focus on the following subtopics within the topic of ‘the energy transition’:
Investment proposals of system operators
ACM will assess investment proposals of system operators, and determine whether the system operators will make sufficient necessary investments, also with an eye towards the energy transition: not more investments than necessary, but not fewer investments either. It is important for the energy transition that the systems for natural gas and electricity have sufficient transport capacity. However, too many investments may lead to overcapacity, resulting in unnecessary high electricity bills.
ACM will introduce guidelines regarding sustainability and competition. In these guidelines, ACM will explain how arrangements between businesses regarding sustainability, and specifically the energy transition, fall within the boundaries of the Dutch Competition Act.
Rates at EV charging stations
Driving electric vehicles is becoming increasingly important in the Netherlands. ACM has received clear indications that the rates for charging electric vehicles at public EV charging stations are unclear. As a customer, you should be able to take decisions based on clear and correct information. ACM keeps a closer watch on this sector, and will take action if it finds any abuses.
Claims regarding energy labels and green energy
ACM investigates sustainability claims, including claims about green electricity offered by energy suppliers. Consumers must be able to have confidence that they truly help generate green energy if they chose green energy.
Aggressive customer-recruitment practices by energy suppliers
ACM investigates aggressive customer-recruitment practices. Aggressive customer-recruitment practices undermine the confidence that consumers have in the energy market, while consumer confidence is of utmost importance with an eye towards the energy transition.
Market manipulation and insider trading in energy markets
ACM fights against market manipulation and insider trading in energy markets by taking enforcement action, and, in doing so, makes sure that everything is fair on wholesale markets too.
Share your ideas with ACM
ACM wishes to ensure that markets function well for people and businesses. We invite everyone to share their ideas about the implementation of the ACM Agenda. Do you have any concrete tip-offs about a specific market that is not functioning properly, for example, because of unfair competition or misleading practices? Or do you have any suggestions for investigations related to our Agenda topics? If so, we would like to hear from you.