The energy company Welcome Energy faced such problems as a result of high gas prices that it could no longer continue to provide electricity and gas. Accordingly, Welcome Energy’s power supply license has been withdrawn by the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM). It is the first energy company to collapse under the current challenging market conditions. All 90,000 customers of this relatively small player in the energy market will be acquired by Eneco.
Eneco said it was clear to Welkom Energie that the security of supplies could no longer be guaranteed this winter. According to the company that came to the rescue, last winter was much colder than usual, which means that Welkom Energie had to pre-fund more depreciation than planned.
The company was then unable to deal financially with the unexpectedly huge rise in gas prices.
According to the ACM regulator, you don’t have to worry that they don’t have access to electricity or gas. But the change could have financial consequences, because Eneco is giving customers a new contract based on current high energy prices.
“We will receive all customer data from Welkom Energie on Monday, then inform them of the rates at the end of next week,” says Edwin van der Haar, a spokesperson for Eneco. On Friday, Welkom Energie customers will receive a message from Eneco on how things are going. “But there are no rates yet.”
The second failed energy company
Welcome Energie was founded in 2019 by entrepreneur Jaap Bakker, who was previously in charge of Energieflex. This resource went bankrupt three years ago, and about 50,000 customers were transferred to Innova Energie. Packer had left by then: he quit in 2017, according to his own account because he saw too many things going wrong. Then he started Welkom Energie in 2019, which focused on good services, electricity and green gas at competitive price. Welcome to Energy is actually my version 2.0 [van Energieflex]. I want to show that this can be done correctly and fairly,” says Bakker on the comparison site Gaslicht.com. That dream has now been shattered.
The energy company has yet to say whether Eneco will charge exactly the same variable rates to its existing customers. “In any case, it is clear that we cannot afford the prices paid by 90,000 customers at Welkom Energie. We are a company, moreover, we are not gas producers. We have to buy energy at high prices today.”
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Anyone who still has money from Welcome Energy, for example a welcome bonus or due to a large amount of premium being paid up front, may not see this money. At the moment, Welkom Energie has not yet filed for a moratorium and/or bankruptcy. As long as it doesn’t, customers simply have to get any excess money back. Hey, Energie will now make final calculations. Then it becomes clear how much money customers still have or have to pay,” says ACM spokesperson Tajit Mastenbrück.
If Welcome Energy is unable to meet its financial obligations, deferment of payment and bankruptcy will ensue. In this case, it seems that consumers are definitely being deceived.
The new contract with Eneco is effective November 1. Then there is a transition period until December 1, during which customers can not pause or cancel their contract. “The law includes a one-month transitional period that cannot be rescinded,” the association said. “This was done to ensure an orderly transition to the new supplier. This is similar to the bankruptcy of a supplier.”
After that, Welkom Energie customers are free to switch to another energy supplier, according to the regulator. They probably won’t agree much with that, rates are high all around.
I’m not the only one
Welcome Energy isn’t the only company in trouble. Enstroga and DBG also suffer greatly from high energy prices. Enstroga first attempted to unilaterally terminate contracts, but this is not permitted. The company is now begging customers to switch to another supplier themselves. Other energy companies such as Vandebron and Pure Energie increased their variable rates earlier than the regular dates of July 1 and January 1.
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