ACM: Vestia must ensure the proper functioning of the heat network in Duindorp
Dutch housing corporation Vestia and its affiliated heat supplier Vestia Energie must ensure that the heat network of nearly 800 homes in Duindorp, a district in the Dutch city of The Hague, functions properly. This has been the decision of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) following a request for enforcement filed by residents of Duindorp that have had problems with their heat supply for quite some time already.
ACM mandates Vestia to take measures for both the short term and the long term. Vestia must clean the filters in the heat pump, and must draw up a recovery plan to ensure a secure supply of heat. And, going forward, Vestia must send heat consumers clear annual bills that explain how many gigajoules (GJ) of heat they have consumed. If Vestia fails to implement these actions on time, it will have to pay periodic penalty payments up to a maximum of 1.4 million euros.
Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “Residents that are connected to a heat network are not able to switch suppliers if there are problems with the supply of heat. It’s important that heat suppliers solve problems so that residents can be confident that hot water comes out of the tap and that their heating functions properly. In addition, these residents are entitled to receiving clear annual bills that specify their consumption per GJ.”
The homes in Duindorp are connected to a heat network that supplies water of 12 degrees Celsius from a thermal-energy storage system that uses seawater. Each home has its own electric heat pump that heats the seawater, generating hot tap water and hot water for heating. Residents have been greatly inconvenienced by disruptions as the filters in the heat pump keeps getting blocked by dirt in the water from Vestia’s heat network. Vestia is responsible for this filter. That is why Vestia has to make sure that the filters are cleaned periodically to ensure the proper functioning of the heat system.
Vestia sought a preliminary injunction against ACM’s decision. In their ruling, the provisional-relief judge has upheld the above order subject to periodic penalty payments.