SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Energy prices have gone up so much that the average new contract for a family is in the region of €5,000 a year, compared with €2,000 12 months ago, the Telegraaf reported on Friday.
Dutch market leader Vattenfall also says that one in 10 of its customers are not paying nearly enough up front and face major extra charges at the end of the year.
‘Some 40% of our customers are paying too little, and with 10% we are talking about €200 a month,’ spokesman Martin Neef said.
‘Energy prices will remain high, so we can do little other than pass the cost on to consumers.’ Family spending institute Nibud warns that people who have an income just above the poverty line – more than 120% of the social minimum – will face the most problems.
‘How can someone who has a small pension pay €450 rather than €175 a month for energy,’ spokeswoman Marion Weijers said. ‘We are worried that people who cannot make ends meet now will be faced with insurmountable debts in the future.’
Bart Koenraadt from Energievergelijk.nl told Dutch News he too recognises the surge in contract prices. ‘Prices are flying through the roof,’ he said.
‘The cheapest model contract in our comparison tool is currently over € 5,100 per year for 3,400 kWh of electricity and 1,200 m3 of gas, and that is the average usage for a household of five people.’
MPs want the government to look into giving more people up to €800 to compensate them for soaring energy bills.
The payments are currently being made to around 800,000 households with a gross monthly income of up to €2,200 for a couple and €1,400 a month for a single person.
MPs want to increase the income requirement from 120% of the social minimum to 130%.