Rob Jetten was a guest the day before yesterday in On 1 and reassured people there who are concerned about whether they can still pay their energy bills. The Minister for Climate and Energy promised that no one in the Netherlands will be closed this winter. Eneco boss As Tempelman joined the same program yesterday, but he does not dare to make the same promise. “When people try their hardest, they don’t get shut down.”
More than a million households in the Netherlands are threatened with financial hardship due to the high energy prices. Tempelman also sees the problems in practice. “The situation is just incredibly difficult right now. We see that more and more of our customers have to deal with that high bill and that they are getting into financial problems as a result,” he says. “We see that more and more people have problems with the installment amount. I was at our customer service center this afternoon and we get thousands of calls a day. I also listened in on a number of phone calls myself. They say: I have now received my new installment amount, based on the new prices. I’m going from 300 to 900 euros and I just really can’t afford it.”
Tempelman suspects that this is the calm before the storm. “We see that this group is growing. It is still relatively small, but it is getting bigger. If everyone has to deal with price increases, the problem also gets bigger.”
Tempelman in Op1: ‘We will not leave people who are committed to the cold’
Presenter Maaike Timmerman presents Tempelman with Jetten’s statements. She asks him if he can also promise that no one will be locked up. “What I can say for Eneco’s customers, who really do their best to pay their energy bills, for whom we make payment arrangements, which we guide to the right debt relief route, we will not close those customers. We will not leave them out in the cold this winter,” he says. “The people who are willing to really commit themselves and who are talking to us about how they can best deal with this situation.”
Timmer is already looking ahead to next winter, but Tempelman is not yet burning his fingers. “Next winter I think we will be in a whole new reality again. We have to see how the market is doing then. What does the affordability of the bills look like then? I think it’s too early to anticipate that.”
‘Eneco made no extra profit this year’
The call for a higher profit tax for energy companies is getting louder. Tempelman, however, says that Eneco has not made any extra profit this year. “In this crisis, the risks for us have also increased enormously. Our profits are only under pressure. In fact, we are now six months into our fiscal year and we have not yet made any profit at all.” Eneco does not have to worry for the time being. “We are a strong company, we have good liquidity, so it’s not like we’re on the brink of collapse. But profits are definitely under pressure.”
Is nobody really going to be cut off from gas and electricity this winter? Eneco boss As Tempelman will talk to minister Jetten tomorrow. “We will not leave people who are willing to commit themselves out in the cold this winter. I cannot anticipate next winter yet.” #On 1 pic.twitter.com/aadwMlb2aI
— Op1 (@op1npo) September 15, 2022
You can watch last night’s episode via NPO Start.
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