The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is charged with enforcement of compliance with the Dutch Heat Act. In that context, ACM will enter into a dialog with households in Transvaalbuurt (a district in The Hague) and in the southern Dutch town of Dongen, as well as with the relevant heat suppliers. We will remind these suppliers, once again, of their responsibilities, and, if necessary, take action.
In a recent episode of the Dutch consumer program Radar, aired on 8 February 2021, residents of said places indicated that they were having problems with their supply of heat. It was unclear to these residents what ACM’s role was in that context. That is why we wish to give an explanation. Any problems that households encounter are important indications for ACM for determining what actions are necessary to take against heat suppliers.
Last year for example, consumer reports involving uncertainty about failures were reason for ACM to order heat suppliers to ensure their failure registration systems are in order, and to make those registration systems publicly available on their websites. This year, ACM will check whether suppliers have done so. If not, ACM can take enforcement action. In addition, ACM has ordered heat suppliers to make the invoices they send to their customers much more transparent. Here, too, ACM will check whether heat suppliers do so correctly, and whether or not enforcement action is needed.
With regard to the rates: ACM sets maximum rates. Suppliers must stick to these caps. In various enforcement decisions, ACM already had to point out to several suppliers what rates they are and are not allowed to charge. ACM has started keeping a closer watch on suppliers. ACM will take into account in its oversight of heat suppliers the insights gained from the discussions with residents.