Moving into a new home? There are a few things to connect before you have a 'fully functional' house, such as telephone, internet, water, gas and electricity. Not that exciting or easy to understand, so we have gathered some information here that might be useful to better comprehend how electricity and gas are supplied in the Netherlands in order to enable you to choose which supplier might suit you the best.
The Dutch energy market is privatised, thus enabling you to choose or change your supplier. Gas and electricity are both supplied by the same provider. Regulatory authorities ensure fair practices and tariffs.
Products, tariffs and services may vary from company to company.
Types of energy
Most suppliers offer green energy (groene stroom), which is produced from environmentally friendly sources such as wind, sun, organic matter (biomass*) or water power.
Green energy is available from some suppliers at no extra cost; others charge a higher rate.
(*Biomass is a collective term for plant and animal matter: by converting it energy can be generated.)
Grey power (such as nuclear energy or energy made from exhaustible sources such as gas and coal) is not environmentally friendly.
General procedures to set up an account in the Netherlands
Choosing a supplier
www.energievergelijken.nl/en/ - compares energy suppliers in the Netherlands and helps you find the best - and most sustainable - energy deal
www.utility-provider.nl/expats/ - helps customers arrange their utilities in the Netherlands, such as energy, water, internet and TV, free of charge
In case of renting a house
- Gas, water and electricity will mostly be connected and you just have to have them transferred to your name
- If the rent is inclusive, check your contract carefully for what is covered
- Note and check the meter readings when moving into another house as bills are based on the previous year's consumption for the property. Discrepancies are corrected at the end of the year and refunds or additional bills are issued accordingly
Pre-requisites to set up an account
- A passport or ID card (proof of identity)
- Proof of occupancy (rental contract, house deeds)
- A bank statement or proof of residence available from the Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie Persoonsgegevens (GBA) or the Office of the Municipality
Request a new connection
- Ask the operator you have chosen for a quote for making a connection (in case the telephone browsing menu is in Dutch ask for the help of a Dutch-speaking person, it will help you immensely)
- Place your order to connect and pay the connection fee. The rates for making the connection are determined by the Office of NMa (the Netherlands Competition Authority)
- The connection will be made according to the schedule decided and agreed upon by both the parties
- The installer will let you know when the connection is ready
Tips for choosing a service provider
- Check the term of your contract to know when you can switch for free. If you want to switch immediately check the cost of doing it before the term in the contract ends
- Check what you're paying for electricity and gas as opposed to what you consume
- Compare the prices and contracts of various energy companies
- Determine whether you want the contract for a definite period or indefinite
- Check whether you want grey or green energy
- Check whether you have a fixed price or variable price to pay
- Keep an eye on special promotions or discounts
- Check the terms and conditions of the contract carefully
- Check whether there are any hidden costs, for example, energy tax, standing charges and transportation costs
- Check the payment options, for example what is the cost of paying by giro
Billing and payment
Once a year you receive a bill for your energy consumption during that year. This is called annual settlement. Energy costs can be charged two ways:
- You will receive one annual settlement: it includes both the transportation and usage costs. (Transport costs are costs that are charged for maintaining the gas lines or power cables)
- You will receive two annual accounts: namely from the supplier and the company's network of gas pipes as well as the power cables maintained (grid)
Each month you pay a deposit amount. These amounts are advance payments on your annual statement.
Generally, there are two ways to pay your energy bills:
An advantage of paying by giro is that you get a good overview of the payments you make. To pay by giro transfer, most vendors charge extra.
- Direct Debit
The merit of paying by direct debit is that you do not have to remember to pay, thus reducing the risk of overdue accounts. Also, many energy suppliers charge less for paying by direct debit.
Practical information about Electricity
In the Netherlands, the power supply operates on 50Hz and 220V.
The plugs on appliances are two prong round pins.
There is a 24-hour number to call for electricity, gas or meter problems. If you suspect a gas leak, smell fumes or have a general power problem the national emergency number for electricity and gas is: 0800 9009
Reduced tariff electricity
Reduced night tariffs are available if the property has a meter fitted. The reduced tariff is available from 23:00 - 07:00 and at weekends, from Friday 23:00 until 07:00 Monday.
Saving energy and …energy bills
A conscious effort to lower your power use will lead to more savings of energy and energy bills. Little things like turning off heaters when not in use, using energy saving light bulbs and other such devices can make a lot of difference overall. Also, things like using washing machines at weekends will reduce your energy bills substantially.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets
www.consuwijzer.nl (in Dutch only)
ConsuWijser is an initiative of the Consumer Authority • Dutch Competition Authority • Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority.
For general information: www.consuwijzer.nl/Ik_wil_advies_over/Energie
For more information on Green energy