1. Understanding your utility bills in the Netherlands
Whether it’s a water or electricity, or an internet bill, the type of bills you receive will determine the best strategy to go about understanding that bill. All the bills I offered you will be direct debited by the suppliers every month.
Gas and electricity bills in the Netherlands
When it comes to energy bills, know that these will take the biggest chunk out of your monthly budget. Gas and or District Heating makes up for about 80% of your total energy bill, so make sure you have sufficient means on your account to be able to pay it. Every energy supplier direct debits your account monthly.
The Dutch energy market is privatised meaning that I already took the liberty in our call to choose between many regional and national energy suppliers and selected the best one based on your personal situation, needs and wishes.
I just sent you an offer not only mentioning the name of the supplier we selected for you but also a tailor made personal offer or as the Dutch say: ”aanbod op maat”.
What is a personalised offer? As a prospective customer, I am required to present you with a tailor-made contract offer (het aanbod op maat) with a monthly estimated instalment amount based on your estimated energy consumption. I predict this based on your last annual statement, your lifestyle, the place you live, your family size etc. It’s meant to prepare you for expenses ahead of time so you can manage your account and usage.
The total monthly instalment combines your energy consumption rate, grid management fees (which goes to the operator company), plus taxes and local levies. A lot of energy suppliers copy the amount I estimated together with you. Some do not and use their own estimation. No worries, you can adjust your monthly instalment yourself as explained below.
Water bills in the Netherlands
Water bills and providers in the Netherlands are pretty straightforward: since it’s not a privatized sector, your provider is based on where you’ll land within one of the 10 water districts. As for your bill, it will be calculated based on the amount water was used at your address (measured in cubic metres i.e m3). This is why it is very important you give your water supplier the meter reading you took down when you entered your new property.
If there is no meter available in your property, the bill will depend on how many people you live with in your property and who are registered with your local municipality. Generally speaking, account for €150 annually per person. Some water suppliers direct debit you monthly and some quarterly.
The name of your specific water supplier is mentioned in the offer your advisor sent you.
Internet and TV bills in the Netherlands
Who said utilities are limited to the gas, electricity, and water? Having good Wi-Fi is a big deal too now that the majority of people is working from home more often! Before we had the call I already checked the infrastructural constraints of your property based on your specific address and determined which of the connections are available for you to power up your place with DSL, Cable, or Fibre.
In the Neherlands it generally takes up to 5 tot 10 working days (some times up to two weeks) for the router to be with you and the signal to be live. The bill will only start once you accepted the package at the door.
All suppliers will send you an email stating the date the router will be delivered. If you are not home they will leave slip in your mailbox stating a unique bar code and the address of the postal agency near you where you pick up the box. The box will wait for you there for 3 weeks afterwards it will be returned to the sender.
Most TV services come digitally with a separate TV receiver and remote. The price of the package determines the amount of functionalities and the TV price is always stated separate from the internet and mobile costs.
Most of our customers chose an offer for mobile sim only services with the same supplier as their residential Wi-Fi internet in the Netherlands. The sim only bills are often clustered in a bundle with the internet (or cable TV if any) for the convenience of having everything billed at once by one provider and receiving discounts on your mobile bills.
The price of internet and TV is set and pre-determined. If you do not add any extra TV packages or do online purchases on your phone you will pay the same amount every month until you terminate or alter the agreement.
Some providers like Ziggo have a first invoice that alters from the rest since they add the fraction of the month before the billable month to the first bill. Most contracts that come with a discount have a minimal period of 12 months after which you can terminate without any penalty.
2. How to pay your Dutch Utility bills
The Dutch advanced instalment system
All Dutch utility bills (Gas, Water, Electricity and District Heating) are based on a monthly advance instalment basis, meaning that you pay part of your annual energy and water bill every month in an amount that is predetermined by your personalised offer as explained earlier. Most suppliers copy the amount determined by your advisor but not all. So do not be surprised if the monthly total amount differs from our tailormade personalised offer. No worries! All suppliers have an app or myspace where you can easily and safely increase or decrease your monthly instalment as you see fit.
How is that monthly amount determined? I took multiple factors into account, such as your type of consumption, your household size ( amount of regular occupants), the size of your property, the age of your property and the type of property you live in as well as current prices — and whether those might be going up or down.
At the end of the year or when you cancel your contract, your supplier determines how many units of these utilities you have actually used within the year. This often is a sizable amount. However, you of course have saved up all your monthly instalments turning those payments into advanced payments on your annual statement. That leaves you with three different scenarios:
- If the amount of the 12 instalments you paid throughout the year equals the amount on your annual settlement, no further payments will be asked of you.
- if you come out short, and your annual statement reflects more than what you paid troughout 12 monhts then you’ll owe your energie company a check for the difference. They will direct debit that remainder amount the month after you received your annual statement on the same day of the months as always. Also they will most likely increase your monthly instalments for the next your to avoid another extra payment at the end of that year.
- If you paid your utility company for more than what you actually used, they will refund you or they will transfer the excessto the next year.
Money-saving tip: Contact us and check out our TADO system allowing you to save up to 30% of your gas bill by using smart technology managing your usage!
A fixed price (flat-rate) contract
If you have a flat-rate contract, you’ll pay the same rate for the duration of their contract no matter the rise or fall or prices that follow. Most known periods available in the market are 1 year, 3 year and 5 year period contracts providing you with sort of a price guarantee. This type of agreement comes with a penalty if you break the agreement before the period expires as for various mobile phone or internet contracts where you essentially pay per plan with a fixed period. Keep in mind grid operation costs and taxes and levies change every year and are set for that year by the Dutch Government.
Pros and cons: When it comes to energy-based flat rate delivery cost agreements, although these contracts tend to be more expensive, they do however offer to protect buyers from sudden price hikes.
The downside in the energy realm, however, is that they cannot take advantage of lower rates when prices drop, so that’s one thing to consider when mulling over such a contract.
Mobile phone and Residential Internet contracts
These contracts are generally flat rate based, depending on two factors: whether you’ll be paying for the sim-card only or if you’re signing a contract for multiple services in one combo, such as getting an internet contract in addition to a cellphone one.
Variable-rate (flexible) contract
Also most commonly seen in energy contracts, this type of agreement allows for a maximum of two annual rate changes (usually on January 1 and July 1) within the duration of the contract. Some sim-only plans and residential Internet plans have flexible contracts where you can leave whenever you want without having to pay a penalty but in return you forfeit any discounts and or welcome-incentives.
Pros and cons: Change can be good or bad. So when you opt-in for a variable rate Since the energy prices can become higher or lower within the year, customers of this type of contract will be affected accordingly. Another big Pro is the fact you can terminate the agreement when you want without having to pay a penalty
3. Keep an eye on the meter
It’s an unappealing step, especially if the meter is stuck between rusty pipes somewhere dark and damp — but all things aside, it’s a simple and occasional task that can save you money in the long run.
For starters, you will need to read your water meter immediately in order to become a new client. Without a meter reading no water contract.
you’ll occasionally (sometimes on annual basis) be asked to do a personal meter reading to someone on the phone or to complete documents by the water or energy company, or even your municipality. So knowing how to read your meter sure is handy.
Being able to read your meter will also save you from future bill shocks since the tiny screen numbers can give you a clear idea of what your upcoming bills would look like.
Although a large portion of smart metres in the Netherlands reports accurate and automatic consumption to the provider companies, if you notice inaccurate meter reportings, you can always take the issue up with your supplier as you could be paying more than you should.
Different kinds of metres
The easiest way to learn how to read a meter is to look up the manufacturer and the type of meter you’re looking at — whether it’s a smart metre for gas and electricity or an analogue “dumb” metre for water.
Gas and water meters are usually mixed together since they report in the same unit (m3) so pay extra attention to these two: the gas meter is usually larger, whereas the water one is usually round-shaped.
Information Tip: PartnerPete has a handy-dandy guide on reading Dutch meters (with pictures! ????) so make sure to check it out for additional, visual, guidance.
4. Get yourself a Contract Coach
Every day dozens of our international customers get themselves a contract Coach so they know they have a Coach they can mail or call if needed. Why would so many customers feel the need to pay just under 5 euro’s per month for such a service for at least the first year in the Netherlands?
Getting all documentation translated and interpreted
Although we tried to inform you during the call with your advisor and again in more depth in this paper you might receive letters, e-mails or calls form you suppliers in Dutch. Now translating them is one thing ( Hallo Google ????) but interpreting them and making sense of what is the right thing to do is quite another. Choices might be needed to make regarding changing meters in your houwese of aviding penalties due to vacancy of energy payment of the property you life in. Other issues might arise where you are rejected by suppliers of worse.
Your Coach will advise you and help you understand the situation you are facing.
Cancelling all contracts when you want
As in any country getting yourself connected as a new customer is never an issue with any supplier. However, getting your contract cancelled is sometimes somewhat more challenging. Penalties, deposits, confirmations, retention calls in Dutch etc. We simply cancel all tyheb contracts you want by sending an actual letter to the supplier you wnt stating you also want to be dleted from ther database and not be contacted in any form.
Contract tip: In case you want to cancel your contracts yourself just to be sure ???? Check out www.stopmycontract.com allowing you to cancel all your contracts in one time for just a few euro’s a letter.
Getting you switched to a better or cheaper alternative
Especially in this overheated energy market is essential you have someone to monitor the rates in the market. The moment your contract is switchable and the rates drop significantly you coach will send you a new offer so you can start saving money straight away.
Keen to know more? Click here. PartnerPete’s Contracts Coaches will notify you when there are contracts in the market with betre rates and conditions compared to yours. This aiol allow you to save money you can spend elsewhere ????