“Scary” energy bills on the way

Consumers’ organisation Test Aankoop is sounding the alarm about spiralling energy prices.  Energy prices continue to set new records that are now being passed on to consumers.

Test Aankoop says fixed tariff contracts have gone up by a third in only two months and is warning that if distribution charges and taxes are included households are looking at annual gas bills of around 3,000 euros – a three-fold increase in comparison with only two years ago.

Wholesale gas and electricity prices broke all records last month.  This month consumers are facing big increases when they renew their energy contracts.  Test Aankoop believes both gas and electricity prices will continue to rise.

The consumers’ organisation says that average households renewing a fixed tariff electricity contract this month will pay 780 euros a year: an increase of 33% compared with October’s record and up 135% compared with two years ago.  That figure doesn’t include distribution charges and taxes.

For natural gas the rise is even steeper: “Anybody signing a new fixed tariff contract in October is looking at 1,800 euros a year.  In September the figure was only 1,255 euros. Today the figure has risen to 2,500 euros or a doubling in only two months” says test Aankoop Simon November.

Add distribution charges and taxes and you get 3,000 euros.

Variable tariff contracts are usually cheaper but there too Test Aankoop sees rises from 1,900 euros in October to 2,240 in November.

Test Aankoop recommends that customers who need to renew should carefully examine their company’s proposal and compare it with other suppliers.  Comparisons can be made via the regulator VREG’s website and that of Test Aankoop itself.

Fixed tariff contracts don’t look particularly interesting at the minute because you will tie yourself to today’s high tariffs. Variable contracts look more interesting.  Test Aankoop says prices may fall but may also rise in future.

Contracts can always be ended, but a month’s notice may be required and some suppliers work with annual fees that will have to be paid in full.

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