Dutch set date to split energy firms

Dutch energy concerns will have to start splitting off their grids from July 1 2008 and have the process completed by January 1 2011. The cabinet announced its decision on Friday afternoon.

Under the new legislation, the grids will remain in public ownership while the production, supply and trading activities will be in a separate commercial entity. The commercial companies will be allowed to be privatised.
Economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven said the cabinet’s decision was a ‘nice compromise’ between the wishes of the lower and upper house.
MPs had supported her original proposal to start splitting the companies from August 1 this year while senators wanted the separation process to begin on January 2009.
At present the four traditional Dutch energy companies, Essent, Nuon, Eneco and Delta, are all owned by provincial and local governments.

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