Citizens’ energy bills are already going down this year. Government officials are still working on plans until late in the evening to make this happen.
There will be a so-called price ceiling in the energy bill. An agreement has been reached on this with the various energy companies. This means that a household that uses an average amount of gas and electricity will never lose more than a maximum amount. In any case, the ceiling will come into effect on January 1.
It is still being investigated whether it is possible to introduce the ceiling as of 1 November, but this may lead to technical problems at some companies. If that fails, the airlines are already trying to reduce the advance they ask their customers for the last months of this year. It is still being investigated whether this is possible with every energy provider. But according to an insider ‘it will just be arranged’.
Today, the cabinet and the group leaders of coalition parties VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie have been discussing a way to curb the rising energy costs of citizens and businesses. On Monday afternoon, the leaders of opposition parties PvdA and GroenLinks were also invited for a meeting with Minister Sigrid Kaag (Finance). Their support is needed to get the government’s budget plans through the Senate.
The government will compensate energy companies if the price of gas and electricity is higher than the agreed maximum amount that they can charge citizens. It is not yet possible to say how many billions of euros that will cost. That depends on how high the gas price will be next winter. It has been agreed in the coalition that the proposed reduction in energy tax for next year will then no longer be necessary.
It is not yet clear exactly how high the ceiling will be. In The Hague, bandwidths circulate between 1200 to 1500 cubic meters of gas and 2500 to 3000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Until that limit is reached, people will then pay the rate that applied to the invasion of Ukraine at the beginning of this year. Anything above that must be settled at the higher market rate. In this way, the cabinet wants to ‘incentivize’ everyone to use energy economically.
In addition, the cabinet is working on an emergency fund that can help people who can no longer pay their energy bills. In this way, it should be prevented that defaulters are closed next winter.
The plans for an energy ceiling cannot yet be fully worked out before Budget Day. The cabinet will send a separate letter to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, together with all budget plans made earlier for next year, with the plan. It is still unclear at what rate the gas and electricity prices will be fixed. More time is needed to determine that.
The cabinet’s last minute action is highly unusual. The plans for Prinsjesdag were already ready. The Budget Memorandum has already been printed. More than 16 billion euros in measures are being taken to support the purchasing power of citizens. But at the last minute the cabinet and coalition parties decided that more needs to be done.
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