Senate takes sting out of energy law

The Dutch Senate yesterday adopted the controversial Splitsingswet (Unbundling Act), which requires power firms to separate their commercial activities – the sale, production and distribution of energy – from their distribution networks.

But the Senate accepted an amendment saying the networks will only be taken into state hands if required by a European directive – or if the power companies are misusing their networks and frustrating market forces.
‘If it can be done without forced unbundling, that’s great,’ Economic Affairs minister Joop Wijn was quoted as saying in the Financieele Dagblad. ‘A European directive is a long way off but this motion is a wake-up call to the sector not to endanger the interests of the public.’
The power companies, who had lobbyied hard against the bill, will have to hand over their high-tension grids of 110kV or more to the state-owned Tennet.

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