Energy bills are likely to go down slightly this year, because of lower delivery charges and taxes. But what else can you do to make sure you are getting the best deal for electricity and gas?
According to national statistics office CBS, after years of steady increases, energy bills will go down by around 3.8% this year. The change, the CBS says, is due to lower delivery charges and taxes.
But that 3.8% alone is not going to pay for a new coat or foreign holiday. The CBS says the reduction means families in large houses are likely to pay €105 less over the whole year, while single people in small, well insulated apartments will benefit by around €3 a month.
There are, of course, other things you can do to make sure you are paying as little as possible for energy, rather than wait for more tax cuts! Insulation, using LED lighting and even turning down the heating slightly will all cut into your energy bills.
You can also save money by looking for the best deal – and competition between providers is fierce. The Dutch energy market was liberalised in 2004 and there are now dozens of providers out there who all want your business. You can save as much as €450 a year by moving to a new provider.
A comparison website such as Overstappen.nl allows you to compare over 44 energy suppliers in just a few clicks. Fill in your postcode, the name of your current supplier and approximate annual usage and the comparison tool will show you the different deals on offer.
As a consumer, you can compare energy in the Netherlands by checking suppliers on price, quality, sustainability and that all important customer service. Currently Greenchoice is the top ranked provider on the Overstappen.nl website, with a score of 8.9 out of 10.
Greenchoice is, of course, a green energy provider and if you are only interested in energy from renewable sources, the tool can limit your choices to them as well. In fact, almost three in 10 Dutch households last year opted for the renewable energy option, particularly now prices have come down.
The reduction in green energy prices is partly due to the sharp growth in supply. This February, national statistics agency CBS said that some 40% more electricity from sustainable sources was generated in the Netherlands last year – with wind turbines leading the way.
The comparison tool also allows you to look for gas or electricity deals only – which is particularly useful if your home is no longer connected to the gas grid. An increasing number of Dutch homes are now become electricity only – in line with government policy to ensure the Netherlands meets the Paris Climate Agreement targets.
Another benefit from finding out if you can get a cheaper energy deal elsewhere is the introductory offers that some energy firms are currently promoting. This could be in the form of a discount off your bill, cash back or free gift – Vattenfall for example, is currently offering a €200 voucher to spend in popular online shops.
Once you decide to make the switch, Overstappen.nl will do the rest in a matter of minutes, and you get 14 days to change your mind, if you think you might have made the wrong decision. The whole process of making the change will take six to eight weeks.
‘And you can always call us for help, always,’ the company says.
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