Dutch government asks energy suppliers to adjust billing practices for net metering

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The Dutch minister for climate and energy, Rob Jetten, said this week that energy suppliers should bill electricity for net-metered solar installations on an annual basis, in line with the law that introduced the scheme in 2004.

Jetten made the statement in response to a parliamentary interrogation designed to clarify net metering billing practices, by a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party.

“All providers have complied with the yearly billing for many years but in recent times, with the current spikes in the electricity market, some of them are implementing their billing practices on a monthly or quarterly basis,” Dutch solar analyst Peter Segaar told pv magazine. “This is aimed at trying to fully bill prosumers at high tariffs during high consumption periods with low solar production such as the winter.”

Dutch energy providers long adjusted electricity tariffs every six months, but they recently started to adjust them on a quarterly and even monthly basis.

“This has dramatic consequences for the way in which the net metering principle is handled in many cases,” Segaar said. “Jetten is going to make this all more explicit in the new Law texts, but also stresses that it always has been its intention.”

In June, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) began looking at whether energy suppliers have been buying surplus solar power from prosumers under the nation's net-metering regime at lower tariffs than what is considered a “reasonable price.” Jetten said at the time that a reasonable minimum fee for surplus solar energy would be at least 80% of the energy price that prosumers pay to buy power from the grid, minus taxes.

Jetten said that the introduction of new net-metering rules in the future could help to identify a lower limit for such tariffs, which would in turn bring more certainty to the Dutch residential PV market.

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