In the first six months of the year, the number of households with variable energy contracts rose to 56%, according to the supervisory body of the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM). At the beginning of the year this was still 50%. With a variable contract, the power provider can adjust prices in the meantime if necessary. Thus, price increases such as those currently in the gas market are more quickly felt in the portfolio.
ACM receives many questions on its consumer counter about energy companies increasing the amount of premiums. The premium amount is a down payment on the final settlement. Suppliers can increase the amount of the premium in the event of an increase in prices or if it turns out that the customer’s consumption is higher than previously estimated.
ACM warns consumers to reduce the amount of premiums in order to get some money right away. This bill must be paid later. “The purpose of the installment amount is to spread out the total energy bill throughout the year thus avoiding having to pay much more in winter and much less in summer,” according to the ACM. On the contrary, it is also not necessary to deliberately pay a lot in advance just to have a “providing fund” with energy suppliers.
ACM invites people who are experiencing problems to contact the power company in particular in order to come up with a payment arrangement or other solution. That could also be in the debt counseling corner, according to an ACM spokesperson. ACM does not have figures on households dealing with premiums.
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