The government wants to limit energy prices to prevent people paying through the nose for gas and power. So next year there will be an energy cap. At the same time, the government is encouraging everyone to turn the heating down a degree. The government support applies up to a certain level of consumption.
But that may be a problem if you share a central heating boiler or mains supply with others, as in student housing complexes. Added together, it means that those residents reach the designated limit very quickly.
For months, the House of Representatives has been asking for a solution for ‘block heating’ and it emerged from a lengthy debate yesterday in the House that Minister Jetten has now devised something. He plans to compensate these residents via the Tax and Customs Administration.
The details are still being worked out, but it will be a scheme ‘under which the owners or managers of a block with a collective grid connection can apply for a refund per housing unit’, Jetten said yesterday. So it will operate via the landlord.
He is thinking of a fixed amount for the households concerned, based for instance on the average amount that they miss out on because they are above the price cap. That was all he could say about it.
Dutch Student Union
The Dutch Student Union is pleased that the government is now thinking about block heating. ‘That can really make a difference for students’, says board member Midas Bosman.
But it is not a solution for residents of normal student accommodation, he says. ‘The more students that live there, the smaller the effect will be of the energy price cap. And those students are hit twice, because they don’t get the energy allowance either.’
The government had previously set up the energy allowance of 1,300 euros, which municipalities are paying this year and next year to low-income households. Students can rarely claim that, with a few exceptions. For instance, some cities are now giving the allowance to students with their own energy contract and in places such as Arnhem and Zwolle all students get an energy allowance, as long as they can show that they are paying the energy costs.