Dutch energy supplier Centrica Energy Netherlands fined by NMa
The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has imposed a fine of €74,000 on Dutch energy supplier Centrica Energy Netherlands B.V. (Centrica), a supplier of electricity and natural gas to small-scale users. Centrica has violated energy regulation laws by not informing the NMa on time of changes to its tariffs for supplying electricity and natural gas. Submitting tariff changes on time is necessary in order for the NMa to be able to step in should the new tariffs turn out to be unreasonable.
Since the energy market was liberalized, the NMa has been charged, under the Dutch Electricity Act and the Dutch Gas Act, with monitoring whether or not the supply tariffs for small-scale users are reasonable. The reason for having this form of consumer protection is because the market for energy supply is not a fully functioning market yet. If tariffs are unreasonably high, the NMa is able to step in by imposing a maximum tariff. In order for the NMa to be able to properly carry out its oversight task, all suppliers are legally required to inform the NMa of any tariff changes four weeks in advance of them. In an earlier similar incident, in which Centrica also had failed to inform the NMa on time of its tariff changes, the NMa issued a warning to Centrica. Now that Centrica has once again failed to inform the NMa of these latest tariff changes, the NMa has decided to impose a fine.