BUDGET UTILITIES IN 2021
THE COMPLETE GUIDE
Budget utilities are perhaps one of the most important things to arrange when you move to the Netherlands. Without gas, electricity, internet, and water, it’s impossible to live in an apartment, of course. College Life knows you need budget utilities and don’t want to spend too much time looking for it. That’s why we’ve put our heads together to find you the best solution: UnitedConsumers. This guide will tell you how utilities work in the Netherlands, if you need to find an energy provider, what the specifics are, and how you can sign up.
READ IT LATER
Download a PDF version of the guide and read it when it's most convenient for you.
How Budget Utilities Work
The situations surrounding utilities in the Netherlands differ per individual. The whole process can seem a little overwhelming and confusing because there are a few steps you need to follow, but we've got your back!
When handling gas and electricity you’ll have to deal with two different companies: the private company that provides you with the utilities and the netbeheerder which handles the physical distribution network and meters. These regional network operators can also be your gas and electricity providers. The main netbeheerders in the Netherlands are: N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie (gas) and TenneT (electricity).
Water, unlike gas and electricity, has been pre-assigned to a certain region in the Netherlands and is not a provider you can choose. Water is arranged through your local government. See the water section below for more information.
The internet, like gas and electricity, is a provider you can choose. You can even combine your internet and cell phone provider in order to get the best deals. Find out more about how to get the best deal for the internet on our article for the Best Internet Providers!
Do You Need a Utilities Supplier?
Okay, so the first important thing to figure out is if you even need utilities. Yes, this is different based on your landlord and the house you are renting. It's pretty simple to figure out if you need utilities, and if it is ever unclear to you, all you need to do is ask! Here are some simple steps to figure out if you need to arrange utilities.
When you rent a room or apartment in the Netherlands, your gas/water/electricity is often included in your rent. If this is the case, you will see "GWL incl." (or "gas/water/licht inclusief") in the description. This means that you are covered and don't need to worry about finding an energy supplier yourself. Lucky you!
If you see "GWL excl." (or gas/water/licht exclusief) this means that gas/water/electricity costs are not included in your rent. In this case, you'll have to find a supplier yourself. UnitedConsumers provides you with competitive prices for green energy and is a great company to consider when you move to the Netherlands.
It's best to be well-informed about how energy works and what you can expect to pay. Make sure you have clear communication with your landlord and that what is decided on energy costs is specified in your contract. It is smart to then monitor yourself about how much energy you are using. There is a meter in your house (ask your landlord where) where you can see around how many kWh of energy you're using.
This might all sound daunting, but no worries, College Life has your back.
Finding a Provider
So, if you've figured out you need to arrange utilities, the next step is finding a provider that satisfies both your energy needs and fits within your budget! In order to kickstart your search, we've assembled a useful list of major providers. Some of these websites are unfortunately not in English.
Here's a list of the main budget utilities provider per utility:
- Huismerk Energie
Here is a list of the major cities in the Netherlands and their respective water suppliers:
Connecting Your Utilities
Congrats, you've finally found an energy provider! You're almost done with the entire process, don't worry. One last thing to consider and get figured out is the payment and billing process. Here's an outline of what the entire process is like and how you can approach it.
The Dutch energy supply market is liberalized and this is great for many reasons. This means you can choose from a variety of energy sources, for example, green energy. Furthermore, you can decide which energy supplier you want, which means energy companies are doing their best to keep prices down to attract more customers. Bottom line: you're in good hands.
Energy billing goes via your landlord if you have "GWL incl." This means he/she determines the monthly fee you'll pay for your utilities.
If you have "GWL excl." and your landlord does not yet have a contract with an energy supplier, you'll have to find your own energy provider. To determine how much energy costs you will have to pay each month, the supplier will make a yearly estimate of your energy use based on your neighborhood trends, the number of people living in your house, among other factors.
Based on this yearly estimate, a monthly premium will be determined. You must pay this amount every month to the energy supplier. Then, at the end of the billable year, they will check how much energy you actually used. If you used less than you were charged for, you will get some money back. If, however, you use more energy than was in your contract, you'll have to pay extra at the end of the year.
Make sure to take a picture of your gas, electricity and water meters, if you have one, when you move in. This is so that you aren't billed for the previous tenant's consumption.
On average, you can expect to spend around 100 euros per month on your energy, totaling around 1200 euros per year. However, if you are conservative with your energy use and do your best to cut back, these costs could decrease!
How to connect your utilities
Easy. When applying to a utilities provider, you'll be asked to fill in your expected energy consumption and your address, and the rest will be calculated for you. If you aren't sure how much energy you expect to use, you can fill in your address and with how many people you live, and an estimate will be provided for you.
When you choose an energy supplier, you are only choosing a supplier for gas and electricity. Water is handled differently in the Netherlands. Certain companies have monopolies over different regions in the Netherlands to ensure that water is provided at the best possible price in the most efficient manner. Therefore, you cannot choose your water provider but must choose the water provider corresponding to your region. You can be assured that their prices are fair because these companies are all heavily government regulated.
To get in touch with your water provider company, type your city and "wateraansluiting aanvragen" (ask for a water connection) into an internet search bar. The first option that comes up will be the water provider you need to get in touch with. You must contact your water supplier when you move (either within the same provider region or out of it), when you want to cancel your contract, or when you want to start a contract.
If you’ve been browsing through social media you have probably stumbled upon the various images showing how nature is “taking back” the world’s metropolitan areas. With billions of people hunkered down at home because of the coronavirus, there has actually been a substantial decrease in the use of utilities such as gas and water at the national level. In the Netherlands, utility costs in 2020 were already projected to be much less expensive than in 2019. This is very good news since people’s wallets are hurting because of this virus and likely will be until the end of this year.
Interestingly enough, internet usage has spiked only about 12% in the Netherlands because of the coronavirus. This is much less than you would expect and probably because of the absence of tourists and many expats. Officials have said that internet providers in the Netherlands are ready for up to a 50% surge in internet usage, well above what it will likely reach before this pandemic is over. When it comes to phone bills, many phone providers around the globe have been offering additional data to their users at no additional cost. However, few if any have given substantial discounts to their users, even in the Netherlands.
In respect to water, microbiologists have been working with water waste treatment plants in the Netherlands to detect and project outbreaks of Covid-19. This was after they discovered traces of the virus in sewage waste from Amersfoort before the first case was even detected by health officials. Fortunately, not much else has changed when it comes to utilities in the Netherlands during Covid-19. While some would have certainly appreciated additional financial assistance from the Dutch government, emergency measures across the country are already beginning to relax. Until life returns to normal, make sure to read about how to protect yourself and others against the coronavirus.
BUDGET UTILITIES CHECKLIST
Download the 10-point checklist for taking care of all your budget utilities.