Energy suppliers in The Netherlands
When moving to The Netherlands your new home will most likely have a working electricity and gas connection. However, you are obliged to apply for a gas and electricity contract and find a suitable utility company, also called ‘energy supplier’. Finding a supplier may be difficult because of the language barrier. Energievergelijk is an independent organisation that can help expats with advice and answers regarding the Dutch energy market.
The Netherlands has over 45 energy suppliers that each offer different contracts and conditions. The infographic below provides an overview of all the energy suppliers that are active on the energy market in The Netherlands*.
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* Greenchoice is a subsidary company of Energie Concurrent B.V. (70 percent) and Eneco (30 percent)
The energy market in The Netherlands became privatized in 2004. Since then consumers are free to compare and choose their own energy supplier. This opened a new market with strong competition. Tariffs, conditions and customer service may vary depending on the energy supplier. However, there are authorities that regulate fair practices and tariffs for all consumers. Furthermore, energy suppliers are obliged by law to accept all new customers.
All of the above energy suppliers are under the supervision of the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). This organisation ensures fair competition between business and protects consumer interests.
Energy suppliers in The Netherlands offer quite a large variety of energy contracts. The main differences are explained below.
There are contracts that have a set tariff, for example, one, two or three years. When you choose this type of contract, the tariff does not change over time. There are also variable contracts which have a tariff that can change every half year or so. You will benefit if the market prices are going down but you will pay more if the prices on the energy trade market go up. In most cases, a 1-year set contract offers the best tariffs.
The total energy costs consist of a unit price for gas (in cubic meters), a unit price for electricity (in kWh) and several fixed costs such as tax and a network fee. The largest price differences are found in the unit price. Some energy suppliers offer a cash bonus to new customers that close a set contract. You can use an energy comparison website to find solid and affordable contract.
Several energy suppliers in The Netherlands offer their customers the possibility to choose for renewable (green) energy. However, it is important to state that not all electricity is produced using renewable energy sources in The Netherlands. Some companies choose to import electricity, generated by hydropower, from Scandinavia. Other companies only supply electricity generated by Dutch windmills or biomass. The energy supplier can provide more information about the origin of the electricity.
Energy utility suppliers have terms and conditions for each type of contract. It is important to keep this in mind, for example, when you are planning to make a switch to another supplier. Therefore, pay attention to the following:
- Do you have to pay a penalty if you do not pay the energy bill in time?
- What paying methods are applicable and are there extra costs involved?
- Is there a penalty if you switch energy supplier before your contract ends?
- What happens when the contract ends? Is it automatically extended?
According to Dutch law, all new customers have a 14-day period in which they can change their mind and cancel their new energy contract, without and costs involved.
On energievergelijk.nl, you can independently compare energy tariffs of all energy suppliers depending on your needs. When comparing energy contracts check what you are paying for gas and electricity based on your energy consumption. As some suppliers have better tariffs for higher energy consumptions, it is important to estimate you energy consumption before you start comparing prices. When you already own or rent a house, you can easily determine your consumption by looking at the electricity meter at the end of each month.
Do take into account the season, as you will obviously use more energy during wintertime.
Below you will find the average gas and electricity consumptions per person depending on the type of house.
|Type of house||1 person||2 people||3 people||4 people|
|Gas (m3)||Electro (kWh)||Gas (m3)||Electro (kWh)||Gas (m3)||Electro (kWh)||Gas (m3)||Electro (kWh)|
|Larger detached house||2000||2650||2200||4400||2400||4600||2600||5200|
Some energy service providers offer a unique bonus when choosing for a certain contract, such as a free energy meter, a tablet or a sum of money (welkomstbonus). Do note that some of these bonuses are included in the price shown when comparing. In any case, it is smart to look for any bonuses offered by the energy supplier.
After you closed an energy contract, you will receive a bill for your energy usage each year. However, most people choose to pay a deposit amount that is an equal part of the total bill each month. Usually it possible to pay by either accept Giro (manual invoice) or via direct debit (automatic invoice). You can select you payment method during the application procedure.
Note: when renting a house gas, water and electricity is sometimes already connected and just has to be transferred to your name. In that case, check the contract carefully for coverage.