Cabinet backs energy market split up
29 March 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Cabinet has backed a proposal from Economic Affairs Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst to split up the nation's energy companies and create separate firms to manage the power network and supply electricity.
29 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Cabinet has backed a proposal from Economic Affairs Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst to split up the nation's energy companies and create separate firms to manage the power network and supply electricity.
The network companies will be required to offer a multiple number of suppliers access to the market in what is hoped will create a free energy market with fair competition. The idea is that this will result in lower prices for consumers.
Companies such as Nuon and Essent — which are owned by municipalities and provincial governments — will be split up, but provincial governments and municipal councils may not yet sell their energy company stocks, news agency ANP reported.
The Cabinet backed the plan on Friday and Minister Brinkhorst will provide further details about the proposal on Wednesday after the end of the mourning period for Princess Juliana, who died on 20 March in Soestdijk Palace.
The chairman of small business association MKB Nederland, Loek Hermans, said he supported the break up, public new service NOS reported.
But employers association VNO-NCW rejected the plan, fearing that Dutch energy companies will become too small to compete with the large companies of Europe. The association of energy companies, EnergieNed, has also criticised the plans.
The Employees Councils of energy companies Essent, Delta, Eneco and Nuon have previously spoken out against a division between suppliers and network administrators, claiming that employment levels will be placed at threat.
The General Energy Council (AER) has also advised the government to allow energy companies maintain ownership of their regional networks.
Nevertheless, consumers will be able to choose their energy supplier from 1 July 2004. But green-left GroenLinks is concerned this will only increase the "chaos" among energy companies if they have are required to prepare for the split up.
Currently, the Netherlands has five domestic energy suppliers and two foreign companies that cannot produce energy in the Netherlands, but are allowed to sell it to the domestic market. Moves are afoot to liberalise the European energy sector.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news