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DTe: Majority of Supply Licences for Energy Granted

After carrying out an extensive assessment, the Office of Energy Regulation (DTe) has granted 50 licences for the supply of electricity and/or gas to small consumers (households and small-business customers) as of 1 July 2004, the date on which the energy market will be liberalised. In total 58 applications for supply licences were received. DTe requested all the companies to submit their applications before 1 March. All the companies that complied with this request were recently granted licences. At present DTe is still processing eight licence applications from companies which submitted an application after 1 March. DTe aims to assess and issue the remaining licence applications as soon as possible if these companies meet all the requirements.

DTe assesses licence applications for the supply of electricity and/or gas to small consumers to ascertain whether the companies have the organisational, financial and technical qualities necessary to carry out their duties properly, namely the supply of electricity or gas. By doing so, DTe ensures that the supply of electricity will take place in a reliable manner subject to reasonable conditions even after the market has been liberalised. In addition, DTe assesses whether the supplier is able to process complaints adequately. Even after the licences have been granted, DTe will monitor whether companies continue to meet these requirements.

In accordance with the Electricity Act of 1998 or the Gas Act, supplying consumers with electricity or gas without a licence is prohibited. If companies nevertheless supply electricity or gas without a licence, DTe may issue a binding order (a so-called "red card"), or impose an order subject to a penalty. Since the Intervention and Implementation Act [Interventie en Implementatiewet] came into force, DTe has also been able to impose fines.

An overview of the supply licences is obtainable from DTe's website. DTe is committed to the proper operation of market forces and competition on the energy market, which ultimately benefits consumers and small businesses. Since it is known which energy suppliers may supply electricity or gas to consumers, consumers may make a critical comparison in choosing their supplier. Well-informed, critical consumers keep businesses alert. They are therefore the driving force behind effective competition between the energy companies, according to DTe.