The big three Dutch suppliers Eneco, Essent and Vattenfall are not charging unreasonable fees for gas and electricity at present, the Dutch consumers and markets authority ACM said on Wednesday.
The profit they are making at the moment is no higher than in recent years and the high prices consumers are facing are down to the cost of buying in gas and electricity, the ACM said.
In addition, the companies also have to pay more money to insure themselves against developments on the turbulent market, the ACM said in a statement.
The ACM’s investigation found that the energy firms are buying their gas and electricity on the wholesale markets at least a month in advance and this is delaying a reduction in prices for consumers.
‘I understand … why consumers may think the energy suppliers are making even higher profits but that is not the case,’ said ACM chairman Martijn Snoep.
‘After subtracting costs, their profit is in the tens of euros per household per year. As wholesale prices continue to fall, that should become apparent in the fees and we are keeping a close eye on them.’
Other energy firms will come under the spotlight in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam district court has ruled that Vattenfall, which is 100% owned by the Swedish government, was wrong to give one new client an extra tariff hike last April.
The client had a variable contract, which means the tariffs change twice a year. The client was told on March 22 that there would be an extra increase from April 1, just 10 days before it was due to come into effect.
The court ruled that Vattenfall’s options to increase charges were ‘too wide’ and that the client had not been given enough time to find a new supplier if they disagreed with the new tariffs ‘given the situation in the energy market at the time.’
This resulted in the company being guilty of ‘unfair trading practices’, the court said.
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