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ACM intensifies its oversight of energy tariffs for consumers

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will intensify its oversight of the tariffs for electricity and natural gas for small-scale users. ACM assesses whether such tariffs are reasonable. Tariffs are reasonable if they have been based on the costs plus a reasonable margin. If a tariff is not considered reasonable, ACM may take enforcement action, and set a maximum tariff.

ACM recently sent a letter to all energy suppliers, requesting them to submit data justifying their tariffs for the ‘model contracts’ between January 1 and February 1, 2023. Suppliers are required to share this data with ACM. They are also required to notify ACM of any tariff changes at least four weeks in advance. Starting in February 2023, ACM will publish a monthly market monitor in order to gain more insight into market developments.

ACM will intensify its oversight in order to boost confidence in the reasonableness of the tariffs for electricity and natural gas. This is also what the energy market needs given its current situation. In 2023, ACM’s oversight will be expanded to include contracts other than the model contracts. The basic principle of ACM’s oversight is the protection of consumers against unreasonably high tariffs.

Meter readings

Due to the introduction of the price cap on January 1, 2023, ACM has reminded suppliers of electricity and natural gas of their responsibility for the meter readings as of January 1, 2023. They are required to ask consumers without smart meters or consumers with smart meters that do not send readings remotely to submit their meter readings as of January 1, 2023. Only then will suppliers be able to process the measures of the price cap on the basis of the correct meter readings. This will ensure that energy bills are based on the actual energy consumption of consumers. Only if consumers fail to send their meter readings on time are suppliers allowed to use estimates of those readings.

A model contract on all websites

Over the past few months, ACM has checked whether the energy suppliers offer the statutorily required model contract on their websites. ACM had received reports that not all suppliers did so. It indeed turned out that not all suppliers offered a model contract on their websites, even though this is statutorily required. Offering model contracts makes it easier for consumers to comparison-shop. ACM has confronted the suppliers that did not offer a model contract of its findings. They have since started offering a model contract in an easy-to-find place on their websites.

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