The Dutch government is running a financial risk from the purchase of part of the German electricity grid by the state-owned national grid company Tennet, the national audit office said in a critical report on Wednesday.
Tennet, which is 100% owned by the state, manages the Dutch grid and bought 40% of the German network in 2009 for €885m. The company is legally required to invest in the German grid.
However, the Dutch government could find itself financing investments in the German grid because the division between the two grids’ activities is not as strictly drawn as ministers indicated to parliament at the time of the purchase, according to the national audit office.
At the moment, Tennet is using private financing for these investments. ‘The question is what happens if Tennet cannot find private investors for these projects,’ the audit office is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos.
‘Tennet is liable for the consequences of an eventual non-observance of this obligation which could have a negative effect on the Dutch treasury,’ according to the audit office.
The report is also critical of the then social affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven. ‘She did not properly assess if the public interest in a reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity grid in the Netherlands would be served by the purchase,’ the audit office says.
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