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ACM provides clarity on investments in sustainability

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) wishes to create room for sustainability initiatives with its energy regulation. That is why ACM, as the energy regulator, has provided clarity about the basic principles it uses in its energy regulation. These principles have been laid down in the vision document ‘Sustainability in energy regulation’ that ACM published today.

Charging stations for electric cars

Within the regulatory framework of the energy sector, network companies are offered room for innovation. For example, the network companies, which include network operators, are allowed to invest in charging stations for electric cars. However, they must transfer these non-statutory tasks to sister companies of the network operator.

For their part, the network operators must limit themselves to their statutory tasks. As a result of this clear division of roles, it becomes more attractive for new market participants to offer their products and services with regard to sustainability. Moreover, in order to prevent unfair competition, network operators cannot favor their sister companies over other market parties. This also prevents consumers from paying for something not everyone uses.

Sharing wind turbines

ACM believes it is a positive development that consumers are increasingly able to participate in small-scale sustainability initiatives. For example, consumers can join a cooperative, and become co-owners of a wind turbine. With such participations, ACM wishes to continue to emphasize the freedom of consumers to choose their own energy supplier. ACM thinks it is not reasonable if consumers are bound to an energy supplier for more than five years because of participation in such initiatives.


In the fall of 2013, ACM launched a consultation document ‘Sustainability in Energy Regulation.’ In reaction to the consultation, thirteen comments were received, which ACM is currently processing in a vision document. These comments will soon be published on Next month, the vision document ‘Competition & Sustainability’ will also be published, in which ACM explains how it deals with initiatives in competition oversight.