Energy firms Eneco and Greenchoice plan to press ahead with increasing prices from October 1, even though this may break regulations, it emerged on Thursday afternoon.
Eneco and Greenchoice said last week they would put up prices by over 50% for customers with a variable contract from next month, even though they are supposed to give customers 30 days warning.
Vattenvall, which is also planning hefty price rises, says it started informing customers prior to September 1, but admits not everyone has had 30 days warning and will now stick to the notice period.
Earlier, the consumer and markets authority ACM warned the energy providers that they should wait 30 days to give customers enough time to adjust to the increase and find a new provider if necessary, Dutch media reported.
The energy firms, however, deny that they are breaking any laws. They say the 30 day limit refers to the time clients should have to cancel their contracts. Customers on a variable contract – whose payments may change several times a year – can change provider with a few days.
MPs from the right-wing Liberal VVD and the Socialist Party say energy firm bosses should now be summoned to answer questions in parliament about why they are ignoring the 30 day notice period.
Energy minister Rob Jetten has described the energy firms’ position as ‘extremely undesirable’.
The ACM, meanwhile, is considering what steps to take and has asked customers who are affected to lodge a complaint online. The complaint letter was downloaded over 250,000 times by early Thursday afternoon.
Energy firm Essent has said it will delay plans to put gas and electricity prices up sharply for customers with a variable contract, in order to meet objections from MPs and consumers authority ACM.
The prices will now go up on November 7, rather than October 1, but will now go up more than originally stated, Essent said.
Note: This article was updated on Thursday afternoon to reflect the rapidly changing situation.
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