Energy companies more often have payment problems due to higher energy prices

Utilities see increasing customer payment problems. Concerns about the future are also increasing due to the (very) low monthly costs that consumers are opting for.

The number of people in debt to the energy company Vattenfall increased rapidly. Thousands of customers have missed a payment for at least two months in a row. The average outstanding amount also increased by ten percent, according to the company.

“The problem mainly lies in the outstanding amount,” says Martin Neef, Head of Timely Payments at Vattenfall. “Where it used to be tens of dollars, it is now hundreds of euros. Herein lies the problem.”

“We are also confident that it will increase further,” says Neef. “Energy prices rose and continued to rise. And every month more and more people sign up whose permanent contract is expiring: a more expensive and more flexible contract is being replaced.”

Monthly amount is too low

Some 200,000 customers also have a “potential problem” because their monthly payment is so low. At the end of the year, they are likely to be surprised by a financial setback during the final deal. “Because only you can afford it.”

It’s hard to compare how many customers had very low monthly rates at the same time last year. “It’s like comparing apples to oranges because of the winter, which was so cold back then.”

Eneco and Essent also see payment problems slowly escalating. “It is more common that customers with direct debit do not have a balance. The number of payment reminders that we send is increasing,” says an Eneco spokesperson.

It’s too early to talk about serious payment problems, he says. “But we expect that to happen. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t turn on the heating in the house. It is a very unpleasant situation for many people.”

Not more, but higher debts

Essent also says that it has not seen any rapid growth in the number of customers with payment problems. “We see that people who are already in debt now have more debt. The value rises. Logically, the rates are going up.”

“We want to help people at an early stage to avoid bigger financial problems,” says Eneco. We offer tips and payment plans for this and refer people to charities,” he says.

own stability

The three largest energy suppliers in the Netherlands say their own financial stability results remain limited, despite growing concerns about the financial well-being of their customers.

Essent says, for example, that it has no effect on its own stability. Eneco remembers the measures the company has taken. “We can get him.”

Vattenfall agrees. “The fact that more customers don’t pay their bills does not affect our own financial stability.”

Source: NOS