Energy company Welcome Energy has run into such problems as a result of the high gas prices that it can no longer continue to supply electricity and gas. The company’s supply license was therefore revoked earlier today by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).
Switch every year
Customers are forced to move to Eneco so that no one will be without gas or electricity. The new contract with Eneco will take effect on 1 November. Then there is a transition period until December 1, during which customers can temporarily not stop or cancel their contract. After that, people are free to switch to another energy supplier if they wish.
They are more expensive at Eneco. “I’m afraid it won’t be such a pleasant time for them, because they will indeed have to switch to our current rates,” says Eneco spokesperson Edwin van de Haar.
Arnold Beerda is one of those customers. He signed a contract with Welkom Energie last May. He did the same for his father and brother. “I’m the kind of person who switches every year,” he tells RTL Z.
It was a one year contract. At that time, the rates were about 78 cents for a cubic meter of gas and 21 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, Beerda says. “I received a welcome bonus of more than 200 euros.”
It was only today that he received a message from Welkom Energie about the discontinuation of the supply. “I read the news via teletext,” he says. “I was surprised that I hadn’t heard anything from Welkom Energie. It’s literally done in one go.”
Welcome Energy informs us in an email that the supply license has been revoked. Eneco will take over the supply from 1 November. Beerda can expect an email from Eneco on 29 October in which the precise conditions will be explained.
It is clear that the prices are now much higher. “I follow the news,” says Beerda. Eneco itself does not want to disclose the exact rates for the new customers yet, but those who become a customer of the company now pay around 1.74 euros for a cubic meter of gas and almost 40 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity.
Based on the prices that Eneco currently charges for a cubic meter of gas and a kilowatt hour of electricity, Beerda can count on more than doubling his energy bill.
He is lucky, he says. “I am economical and my gas consumption is low. I almost always pay too much in advance for my energy.” It is different for his father and brother: “They consume a lot more.”
Sander van Rijn can also handle the higher costs, but the ex-customer of Welkom Energie is not happy with it. “I switched in July and I am disappointed, because I was actually just ahead of the price increases,” he says. He also received a message from the company today.
“Of course we can switch from Eneco after a month, but that is probably not worth it at all,” says Van Rijn. Prices are sky high at the moment. “I’ll be stuck with it for another year.” So it will be a matter of waiting and sitting out, he thinks.
However, Van Rijn immediately withdrew the direct debit for Welcome Energy and had the September amount refunded. “There must be a final settlement within 42 days, we just hope we get something back.”
Really a lot of money
Marco Venema, also an ex-customer, regrets that he has not had a say in who his supplier will be. “We are actually forced and were only notified very late,” he says.
Venema already did a quick check on a comparison site. Until now, he paid an advance of 237 euros per month. “At Eneco that will be 502 euros,” he says. “We can get by just fine, but it really is a lot of money.”
Consumers’ association: you can do little
In any case, as a consumer there is little you can do about it if your supplier collapses, says the Consumers’ Association. “You can’t know and if your contract is still running you can’t just switch without paying a fine,” said a spokesperson.
The union has asked the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets to keep an eye on other companies that report problems, these are DGB Energie and Enstroga. The latter threatened to cut customers off last week because of the issues.