Dutch Finance Minister considers options to combat energy crisis
Dutch energy prices have risen sharply over the past 12 months as a result of a natural gas shortage across Europe and depleting stocks in the Netherlands. Some families and businesses have already been confronted with significantly higher energy bills, and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) is demanding the cabinet take action.
As an EU summit sent Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Slovenia to discuss the bloc’s energy crisis, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra announced that he would do “whatever it takes” to prevent people from facing high energy bills, and that he “expect[s] the cabinet will intervene” in order to tackle the growing issue.
While the cabinet’s policies are yet to be determined, sources in The Hague have confirmed that the cabinet is prepared to invest billions into combating the crisis. The plans will be made clear over the coming weeks, but some of the options on the table include lowering the energy tax, investing in better insulation for houses, or replenishing the national natural gas stock sooner rather than later in order to prevent prices from rising further.
Energy companies unable to keep up with rising gas prices
Rising energy prices are a relatively new issue facing the country, although it is a topic that has gained a lot of attention over the past month. The energy company DGB Energie has terminated the contracts of all customers, saying it was “unable to continue [the] supply agreement and recommending customers find a different energy supplier as soon as possible. Many smaller energy companies have already upped their contract prices to ensure they survive the crisis.
The high bills are already affecting many, specifically low and middle-income families, and figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that the rising prices pushed inflation in the Netherlands to 2,7 percent in September – its highest level since August 2019.