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ACM has studied the effects of the safety net scheme

16-07-2019

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has studied the effects of the energy safety-net scheme, as well as what the possible effects would be if that scheme were to be abolished or adjusted. The scheme was created when the energy market was liberalized in order to protect consumers against unreasonable energy tariffs. ACM’s study has also been presented to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK), which will deliberate about the future of the safety net scheme.

Effects of the safety net scheme

ACM’s study has revealed that the safety net scheme does not have any anticompetitive effects on the market. The scheme does not harm the quality of energy options, and it does not impede innovation in the market. The administrative costs for oversight of this scheme result in slightly higher energy tariffs: approximately €0.24 per user per year. ACM’s interventions related to this scheme result in lower energy tariffs, but only for those consumers who get energy from the energy supplier that ACM has sat down with.

ACM is unable to say to what extent a potential abolition of the safety net scheme would result in higher energy tariffs. This depends on, for example, what interventions ACM would have conducted if the scheme had still existed.

Small-scale users that are less active may be harmed

ACM points out the risk that an abolition of the safety net scheme could increase the difference between the lower fixed tariffs and higher flexible tariffs. This means that the group of small-scale users that are less active in the market could be harmed if the scheme were to be abolished.

See also:

16-07-2019 Study into the effects of the safety net scheme (in Dutch)