Last month, the Netherlands had the highest gas price of all countries in the European Union. This is evident from figures that news hour requested at price comparison site Energie Compare.
Dutch households paid 283 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) of gas in July, more than twice as much as the EU household product. Gas is also about half the price in neighboring countries Germany and Belgium. A month before gas in Sweden was even cheaper than in the Netherlands, but they also paid less there in July than with us: 237 euros per MWh.
Purchasing power crisis
Energy prices have been fast for a while due to the war in Ukraine. Food and rent prices are also high. Trade union FNV calls to raise wages and set a gas price cap. “There is a purchasing power crisis such as we have not experienced in decades,” says chairman Tuur Elzinga in news hour.
We also pay a lot for electricity in the Netherlands: 419 euros per MWh, including taxes and a reduction in energy tax. Only in Italy and Denmark are prices higher.
An average household that has to renew its energy contract is about 3700 euros extra per year compared to last year, according to Energiecompare.nl. Budget officer Nibud dates one in three households get into trouble. “Some just need to cut back a bit, but there is also a large group who can’t get by even if they budget well,” says Nibud director Arjan Vliegenthart. “And that’s worrisome.”
‘High prices also affect middle incomes’
People with a low income can apply for a one-off 1300 euro energy allowance. “That is not enough to keep people above water,” says Vliegenthart. “We see too many groups who structurally have too little income to make ends meet. Also workers.”
The FNV also finds the scheme insufficient. “The target group is too small,” says Elzinga. “The increase in energy prices certainly, you also don’t have much people with a middle because the sustainable one.”
Elzinga believes that employers and the government should take action, partly by improving wages “significantly”. The minimum wage will increase more quickly from next year, but according to him that is not enough. He wants at least 14 euros per hour, “and income from the income and the state pension”.
‘Companies make record profits’
he argues for the introduction of the price law, which would allow the cabinet to introduce a maximum price for energy messages. He does not think it is unreasonable that companies then have to lose turnover. “What we’re seeing now is that by impoverishing the old burgers, recent companies are making record profits. There’s plenty of money, but it’s all in companies.”
Elzinga looks set to strike a new deal with employers to fix declining purchasing power. “There is a wage surge. We need a logic, and I think we need to get ahead of the road, we need to act. It’s really up to employers and politicians now to get across the bridge.”