Energy firms face network split off

Economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven has told the Netherlands’ big power firms she will take a quick decision on whether to force them to hive off their network operations. Van der Hoeven was discussing the energy sector with MPs last night.

Last year, parliament decided that power firms – such as Nuon, Essent, Delta and Eneco – should separate their commercial activities (supplying electricity) from managing the power grids.
Under pressure from the senate, the law was amended to force a separation only if the independence of the grids are threatened, for example by mergers or acquistions involving private foreign companies.
Since then Delta has announced plans to take over a Belgian waste processor and Nuon and Essent are in the process of merging and have made no secret that they have international ambitions.
Both Van der Hoeven and a majority of MPs said the energy firms have been testing how far they can go. This makes the separation of their activities increasingly likely, ANP reported.’You cannot wait until there are problems because then it will be too late,’ Van der Hoeven said.
The Volkskrant reports that the minister will delay her decision until energy watchdog DTE has been consulted.
Holland’s power companies are in the hands of regional and local governments.

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