Last month, the Netherlands had the highest gas price of all countries in the European Union.
Dutch households paid 283 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) of gas in July, more than twice as much as the average EU household. Gas is also about half the price in neighboring countries Germany and Belgium. A month earlier, gas in Sweden was more expensive than in the Netherlands, but in July Swedish households paid 237 euros per MWh.
Purchasing power crisis
Energy prices have been rising rapidly for some time due to the war in Ukraine. Food and rent prices are also rising sharply. There is currently a purchasing power crisis that we have not experienced in decades.
The energy prices are the average rates (including taxes) that energy companies charge for a new energy contract. 283 euros per MWh comes down to 2.76 euros per cubic meter.
People also pay relatively high amounts for electricity in the Netherlands: 419 euros per MWh, including taxes and a reduction in energy tax. Only in Italy and Denmark prices are higher.
An average household that has to renew its energy contract has lost about 3700 euros per year extra compared to last year. The Dutch Budget Information Service Nibud warns that one in three households will run into problems as a result. “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.”
High prices also affect middle incomes
People with a low income can apply for an energy allowance of 1300 euros in the Netherlands. “That is not enough to keep people afloat”, according to Nibud. “We see too many groups who have too little income structurally to make ends meet. This also applies to people with a regular income.”
Companies make record profits
What we are seeing now is that inflation is impoverishing citizens while companies are making record profits. There’s plenty of money, but it all flows to companies.