The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will take action against energy companies that cancel energy contracts with customers that do not agree with increasing their agreed-upon fixed energy rates. Terminating or changing fixed-rate energy contracts just like that is prohibited. In addition, terminating the supply of energy during the winter months (October 1 through April 1) just like that is similarly not allowed under the Protocol regarding the disconnection policy for small-scale users of electricity and natural gas (in Dutch: Regeling afsluitbeleid voor kleinverbruikers van elektriciteit en gas). That is why ACM takes action against such cancellations and terminations.
Reports filed with ACM’s consumer information portal ACM ConsuWijzer had already revealed that several companies did threat to terminate the supply of energy if customers did not agree with increasing their fixed rates. ACM recently already announced that this is not allowed, and has reminded companies that do so of the rules. A recent ACM investigation revealed that, in the upcoming winter, one of these companies is indeed planning to terminate the supply of energy to consumers that have not agreed to a price increase. By imposing an order subject to periodic penalty payments, ACM forces that company to continue supplying natural gas and electricity to consumers at the agreed-upon fixed rate. If the company fails to do so, it will have to pay a penalty of 15,000 euros per week up to a maximum of 45,000 euros.
Over the next few months, ACM will continue to check whether energy companies comply with the rules, and that they do not terminate the supply of energy during the winter months by unilaterally canceling contracts with consumers. If it turns out that other companies, too, terminate their supply of energy, ACM will take action against them as well. Consumers with fixed-rate contracts that still receive a letter from their energy suppliers, informing them that their supply will be terminated, have the opportunity to file a report with ACM ConsuWijzer. On ACM ConsuWijzer, they can also find sample letters that consumers can use if they do not agree with the cancellation of or changes to their energy contracts.
In the Netherlands, especially in the winter months, you will never be disconnected from natural gas and electricity just like that. You will always receive a letter from your system operator first. In that letter, you will be advised to look for a new energy supplier. If you have received such a letter, please contact your supplier, and insist that they honor your contract. Your energy supplier will continue to be your point of contact. In addition, please file report with ACM ConsuWijzer.