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ACM reminds everyone of prohibition of private electricity or gas networks

To prevent violations from occurring and to avoid protracted repair procedures, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) calls for extra attention to the prohibition of the operation of illegal private networks. Operating private natural-gas or electricity networks is a tremendous responsibility, and it requires a lot of knowledge and expertise. That is why the distribution of natural gas and electricity to homes and other buildings can only be done by designated system operators.

Operating illegal private networks is prohibited and is also socially undesirable. ACM cannot properly exercise its regulatory duties with regard to these private networks, because it cannot properly monitor the security of supply, safety, affordability, and consumer protection. Consumers and businesses that are connected to such networks are usually not able to choose the energy suppliers from which they purchase natural gas or electricity.

ACM has compiled a brochure in order to draw, once again, extra attention to the rules governing private networks. This brochure can be used by consumers, businesses, trade associations, and system operators. Several trade associations have agreed to distributing this brochure among their members too. System operators can ask ACM to send them this brochure if they suspect that, when applying for a new natural-gas or electricity connection, the network that is constructed may concern a private network.

Operators may apply for exemptions for private networks with ACM, but can only do so if strict conditions are met. For example, no consumers can be connected to the network. If a private network is not eligible for an exemption, ACM may mandate the owner to designate a system operator, or to stop operating the system. Buyers will then need to be connected to the system of a distribution system operator. That process may involve paying additional connection fees, as well as losing the investments in the created electricity or natural-gas network.

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