Do you want to supply gas or electricity to low-volume (small) users? You have to comply with the rules as laid out in the Electricity Act and the Gas Act. The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) checks if you keep to these rules.
The term 'low-volume users' includes both private and commercial customers who have:
- an electricity connection of maximum 3 x 80A (ampere)
- a gas connection with a maximum capacity of 40 m3(n) an hour
You are only allowed to supply gas or electricity to low-volume users if:
- you have an energy licence. You can apply for this licence (in Dutch) to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) if you meet their requirements (in Dutch, Welke eisen en regels gelden er voor een vergunning?), or if
- you work with a supplier who has a permit. In this case, you are a reseller (in Dutch)
You do not need an energy licence (in Dutch):
- if you are a buyer and you supply energy via your connection to other buyers in the same property
- if you are the main buyer for a group of business customers you represent (multisite provision). For instance if you own a department store and you conclude a framework contract for all your branches
- if you fulfil a public task
- in case of non-business supply. For example if you have a CHP plant on your farm and you supply other companies on your premises through this plant. You cannot supply more than 15 other companies and no more than 0.25GWh per year in electricity
Rules for supplying energy
To obtain or keep an energy licence, you must keep to rules for supplying electricity and gas (in Dutch), among others:
- Delivery must be reliable, this means you must demonstrate that your business has the proper financial, organisational, and technical capabilities.
- You must keep to the rules on security of supply (in Dutch): you have to keep records on specific customer data, make sure these are the right format for exchange, and be able to transfer or receive large numbers of customer data.
- You have to supply gas and electricity to anyone who requests it (duty to supply).
- Your rates and conditions must be reasonable, ACM will check this. Your rates should be the sum of supply rates, network costs and energy taxes. The costs for network management and taxes are fixed. You can decide on the supply rates (in Dutch) yourself. If you change your rates, you should inform your customers at least 30 days in advance.
- You should always offer your customers a model contract (in Dutch). That means an open-ended contract with non-fixed rates. You may also offer them a fixed rate for 1 year. The contract needs to contain some standard information, for example:
- the duration of the contract
- what will be supplied: gas, electricity or both
- the type of gas/electricity that will be supplied
- rates: fixed or variable
- complaints procedure
- terms and conditions around ending the contract
Please note: the government has set a price cap on electricity and gas for low-volume users. This means a maximum rate is set for energy consumption below a certain threshold. Above this threshold you can charge the rates as set in the energy contract between you and your customer. You can find more information on the government's website (in Dutch).
ACM will also check if you are prepared for price fluctuations in the energy market, a sudden increase in demand for energy, and for non-payment of customers.
Do you have an energy licence? You should report any changes to the ACM (in Dutch). This can include a change in your terms and conditions, changes in your rates (every year and 4 weeks before the change), or a change within the company (organisational, financial, or technical).
Registering with EDSN
Once you have applied for a licence, you can register with the Netherlands Energy Data Services (Energie Data Services Nederland, EDSN). This way, you will get access to customer files (central customer register) in the energy market. You have to protect your customers' digital data.
Rules for resellers
Are you a reseller? Then you should provide the contract between the energy provider and your customer. You need to state clearly that the customer enters into a contract with the provider, not with you. You have to respect the rules. These rules concern customer acquisition, contracts, billing, and handling of complaints.
Have you agreed on a fixed-term contract with a customer and do they want to cancel it before it ends? For contracts taken out after 1 June 2023 you may calculate a termination penalty (in Dutch) for the customer equal to your loss from early termination. If a fixed-term contract taken out before 1 June 2023 is cancelled prematurely, you may charge a fixed termination penalty.
Cutting off gas or electricity supply
Energy companies may only cut off the gas and electricity supply (in Dutch) to low-volume users if they do this in accordance with the Regulation on disconnecting electricity and gas supply for low-volume users. You must for instance send at least 1 written reminder.
Cancelling a licence
Do you want to end your gas or electricity service? You can apply for a cancellation of your licence to the ACM (in Dutch). You should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will then receive information about the rest of the procedure.
In some cases, the ACM may decide to revoke your licence (in Dutch). For example if you do not respect the rules, if you can no longer ensure reliable supply of energy, or if your company has gone bankrupt. You are, however, still obliged to supply energy to your customers if this happens.