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ACM: DeeneD cannot charge heat consumers connection fees

Heat supplier DeeneD cannot charge heat consumers periodic connection fees. This has been laid down by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in a binding instruction.

ACM’s decision was prompted by a request for enforcement filed by Stichting Betaalbaar Duurzaam Velsen, which is a local collective of heat consumers in the city of Velsen. In the investigation following that request, ACM found that DeeneD charged periodic connection fees, even though that is not allowed. DeeneD had been given four weeks to stop this practice, and to inform consumers of the situation. That deadline has now passed. ACM is looking into whether or not any further steps are necessary.

With ACM’s decision, it has been established what DeeneD can and cannot charge heat consumers. Armed with ACM’s decision, heat consumers in Velsen are now able to reclaim the wrongful payments either directly from DeeneD or through a court order. It should be noted that the rights and obligations that ACM describes in the decision apply to all heat suppliers.

Costs for the supply of heat and cold 

Next to the complaint about the periodic connection fees, the local collective, Stichting Betaalbaar Duurzaam Velsen, also filed several other complaints. These complaints concerned the costs for the supply of heat and cold to tenants. In its decision, ACM clarifies what costs can and cannot be charged. For example, DeeneD can charge costs for the collective heat exchanger. DeeneD is allowed to charge cold tariffs as long as the maximum supply tariffs are not exceeded. The parties involved are still able to file objections against ACM’s decision.

About the role of ACM

ACM conducts oversight over the proper implementation of the Dutch Heat Act. If a heat supplier does not comply with the rules, ACM can take action. Decisions following requests for enforcement offer heat suppliers more certainty about the correct interpretation of the Dutch Heat Act. Recently, ACM made its ‘Guidelines regarding obligations for heat suppliers’ available for public consultation. The final version of these guidelines will be published soon. The guidelines contain an overview of the obligations that heat suppliers have when supplying heat. ACM also educates heat consumers so that they know what their rights are. It is important that it is completely clear to heat consumers what they should and should not pay to their suppliers, and what exactly they have agreed to.

See also

09-09-2020 Enforcement decision regarding DeeneD and Woningbedrijf Velsen in connection with Dutch Heat Act (in Dutch)