This complete guide explains how to connect to Dutch utilities and pay your utility bills, plus includes a list of water, electricity and gas utility companies in the Netherlands.
One of the first tasks you need to arrange when relocating to the Netherlands is to connect to utilities such as water, electricity and gas in the Netherlands, besides also connecting to Dutch internet, TV and telephone and comparing Dutch mobile operators. There is a range of discount deals and combined Dutch utility packages to choose from, but finding the Dutch utility companies that cost less, in the long run, requires research into the fine print.
However, besides comparing water, electricity and gas companies in the Netherlands, the connection process is relatively straightforward. You can even take all the pain out of the process by hiring a utilities-connecting company such as Easynuts, who will take care of getting everything connected for you within two days: energy, internet, TV, phone, water and even insurance.
If you’re renting a property in the Netherlands, your lease agreement should indicate if additional charges, such as utility bills, are included in your monthly payments. It is common for monthly rent charges to include utility payments, in which case your landlord must issue you with an account (eindafrekening) showing utility payments and real costs at least once a year.
If you are buying a house in the Netherlands or ulities are not included in your rental agreement, you might be able to get utility services transferred to your name from the previous tenant, or get Dutch utilities connected using the main utility providers for your area.
This guide explains how to connect to basic utilities in the Netherlands including:
- Connecting Dutch utilities
- Connecting electricity and gas in the the Netherlands
- Gas and electricity companies in the Netherlands
- Dutch voltage and power plugs
- Power cuts in the Netherlands
- Connecting water in the Netherlands
- Dutch tap water
- Paying utility bills in the Netherlands
- Rubbish collection and disposal in the Netherlands
In many cases, the utilities (gas, water and electricity) will already be connected and you just need to transfer them into your name. If you are paying an inclusive rent, check your contract carefully for what is covered in the monthly sum. In this case, you will not be able to select a provider yourself.
Gas and electricity are usually supplied by the same provider; water is arranged separately. You can connect all your utilities online at Easynuts or PartnerPete. Both offer a free service in English to connect expats.
The Dutch energy market is liberalised, so you are able to choose (or change) suppliers, which the Dutch frequently do to get the best rates. Most have ‘green’ options (groene stroom), where energy is bought from alternative sources such as sun, wind, water and biomass. Regulatory authority the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ensures fair practices and tariffs, but note that the latter will vary per provider. For instance, some suppliers will charge extra for green energy.
You will be dealing with two separate companies: the netbeheerder, which manages and operates the distribution network and meters, and the actual gas and electricity provider. The Dutch netbeheerders have each been assigned a certain region of the Netherlands and cannot be selected by the consumer. To find out which one your region falls under, simply find out this form (in Dutch) or check this map. Once the actual connection to the network is there, which in the vast majority of properties will be the case, you can select and contact the gas and electricity provider.
When selecting a Dutch energy provider, be sure to compare prices, determine what kind of contract you want (definite or indefinite period), consider type of energy (green or not) and check current discounts. Once you have decided, setting up an account with a provider is very straightforward. You can do so by telephone or via their website. You will need proof identity (passport or ID card), proof of occupancy (rental contract or house deeds) and either a bank statement or proof of residence available from your municipality.
Upon moving into a property, be sure to check and write down the meter readings when moving in to ensure you will only pay for your own usage. Your (new) provider will ask you to provide these within 15 working days of your move or transfer. Should you fail to supply them, the provider will make an estimate, which can result in discrepancies. If you do supply them, the provider will check whether they are realistic. Should they think a mistake has been made, they will contact you to double-check and make a correction. All this needs to be done within 15 working days.
Where to complain about Dutch electricity and gas
Should you have a complaint about the meter readings, contact your provider as soon as possible; try to do so within two weeks at most. This will give the provider ample time to contact the netbeheerder to find out what the problem is and whether the readings can be changed. If the result is still unsatisfactory to you, you can contact De Geschillencommissie (the Dutch Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards) to arbitrate; their decision will be binding for both parties. Almost all Dutch energy providers are affiliated to De Geschillencommissie, which will be mentioned in their general terms and conditions. You can file your complaint on De Geschillencommissie’s website or via letter. It should be noted that De Geschillencommissie will charge a fee.
You can find a full list of Dutch electricity providers, including green energy providers, on the website of consuWijzer, a daughter organization of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets. Below are some of the main energy providers in the Netherlands:
- Engie: best purchased via www.partnerpete.com. English website and customer service
- Greenchoice: best purchased via www.partnerpete.com
- Huismerk Energie: best purchased via www.partnerpete.com
- Nederlandse Energie Maatschappij
To compare prices for Duch utility companies, you can visit www.consuwijzer.nl, which is a government-backed site that provides impartial comparisons. However, there are numerous price comparison sites, many of which offer Dutch utility deals, or even combined utility packages:
- www.energievergelijken.nl (English website)
- www.energieleveranciers.nl (in Dutch)
- www.gaslicht.com (in Dutch)
- www.overstappen.nl (in Dutch)
The standard Dutch electricity voltage is 220V (50Hz). While this is the standard voltage for Europe, it is significantly higher than many other countries so check which appliances are compatible.
The Netherlands uses the two-pin power plug adapters commonly used in much of Europe. If you have appliances with foreign plugs (such as the three-pin UK version) you should be able to buy a suitable Dutch power adapter in most electrical shops.
Power cuts are rare in the Netherlands but do occasionally happen. If you experience a power cut, check if the street lights are out or with your neighbours to see if they have power. If the entire area is out, you can call the national number 0800 – 9009, which is free of charge and can be reached day or night. Your notification will be forwarded to your netbeheerder who will get the power back up. Alternatively, you can check www.gasenstroomstoringen.nl.
If the power outage is just in your home, first check your fuse box to see if a fuse has tripped or blown, which you can solve yourself. Otherwise, you will need to contact your Dutch electricity supplier.
There are two elements of water payments: a consumption charge based on actual water usage (which is estimated if you don’t have a meter) and a municipal tax for services (sewage, maintenance, etc.).
The Dutch water providers have each been assigned a certain region of the Netherlands and cannot be selected by the consumer. To see which water company covers your area, visit www.vewin.nl and enter your postcode in the box Zoek uw waterbedrijf, or ask at your local gemeente. Registration is very straightforward and can be done through their respective websites.
Main water suppliers in the Netherlands
- Amsterdam: Waternet
- Den Haag/Leiden: Dunea
- Rotterdam: Evides
- Utrecht: Vitens
- North Holland: PWN Waterleidingbedrijf
Dutch tap water is among the safest to drink in the world and is tested by Dutch water suppliers regularly. When and where needed, they employ preventative measures and additional purification techniques. Tap water in the Netherlands is mostly not hard and will not cause major limescale build ups (although some build up will always occur). To see how hard the water in your area is, you can check www.waterhardheid.nl.
For the gas and electricity, there are two separate fees to be paid: the amount of your energy provider has provided as well as use of the network. They are usually combined on the bill sent by your energy provider, but sometimes invoices separately (in which case you will receive one bill from your energy provider and a separate one from your netbeheerder. Dutch water suppliers usually provide several options; you can mostly either pay per month or per quarter.
For both energy and water, you are asked to check and send in meter readings once a year, for which you will get a reminder by post or email. This will be the basis for your monthly/annual costs for the next year and possible refund or additional fee for the previous year.
To pay utility bills in the Netherlands, you can make a bank transfer or set up automatic payments.
Household waste and recycling in the Netherlands is managed by local councils, which each have their own system. They will invoice you for this; the fee will depend on the size of your household. Most councils will print and distribute an annual calendar with the rubbish pick up dates; otherwise, the information can be found on their website. Each council will also have a central waste separation and recycling station, where you can drop off anything that should not go into the normal household waste (electric appliances, chemicals, furniture etc.). Alternative, you can call the gemeente to make an appointment to pick these latter up from your home.
Restafval (residual waste) is to be put in grey rubbish bags (to be bought in supermarkets), klikos (container on wheels provided by the council) or underground containers. Organic waste, glass, plastic, paper and cardboard as well as textiles and clothing should be recycled. For organic waste, most council swill provide a separate kliko (mostly green). The rest must be separated and brought to special containers at various locations throughout the council. Old or unused medication should be returned to the pharmacy to prevent tap water from becoming contaminated. You can drop off empty batteries in special containers at most supermarkets and some other shops.
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