Energy companies should be required by law to offer customers a long-term contract with fixed tariffs rather than focus on flexible fees, as in the current market, according to MPs from two coalition parties.
VVD parliamentarian Silvio Erkens and Henri Bontenbal from the CDA also say energy firms should be banned from giving new customers a welcome bonus. The proposals are contained in a pamphlet which will be presented to energy minister Rob Jetten later on Tuesday.
The two parties say the energy market, which was liberalized in 2004, is not working as envisaged and that the current surge in prices, stimulated by the war in Ukraine, has made the weak points in the current system more obvious.
‘It is high time government reined in the energy market and got the cowboys out,’ Erkens told the Telegraaf.
‘The government needs to make sure that consumers know what they have to pay and that there is always a sufficient supply of affordable energy,’ Erkens said.
Currently energy firms are only offering contracts with variable tariffs, which give consumers no security about the size of their bills, but do ensure the companies have covered their own financial risks.
The VVD and CDA want a return to long term contracts – for three years for example – with fixed charges. Customers who want to break a contract early would have to compensate their provider for loss of income.
In addition, the parties say that energy firms should undergo an annual stress test to make sure that they are financially sound. There are currently 38 providers active on the Dutch market and several small ones have already gone bust.
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