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‘Our idea is good for the wallet and the climate’

Caroline Princen of Budget Energie says she thinks it is “fairer” to put customers with solar panels in summer at a slight disadvantage compared to customers who cannot afford solar panels, for example.

Princen is straightforward and the director explains that the energy company has to incur many extra costs when the sun starts shining in full, something that is actually beneficial for people with solar panels. However, these extra costs are often paid by those without solar panels. The latter group includes more families in vulnerable situations than the group of people who do have solar panels. For this reason, Budget Energy is going to make green electricity free for those without solar panels on weekends next spring and summer.

This is not the first time Budget Energie has decided to make the people who cause the cost of the net-metering scheme, where consumed and delivered electricity are offset against each other, pay for it. For instance, the company tried 2 years ago by starting to balance monthly instead of annually. That intention de facto kicked the bottom out of the balancing scheme. With the consumer association leading the way, customers with solar panels revolted and the plan was scrapped.

Since then, solar panels have been installed on hundreds of thousands of homes and slowly but surely the generation of ‘renewable’ energy is leading to a waste problem. On days when the sun is most favourable for the panels, so much is sometimes generated that power companies have to pay to dispose of it. Giving it away is more lucrative.

‘Our idea is good for the wallet and the climate. And we also make the weekend more fun,’ Princen argues. We are already allowed to NOT do so much these days, flying or eating meat for example. ‘Now you are allowed to use electricity for free on weekends.’

It won’t be that every Budget Home customer responds enthusiastically. For now, the free power is only provided to those who sign a new one-year contract, not on variable or multi-year contracts. Buget Thuis is not the first provider to have started with this idea. Vanderbron, for instance, started it last year. Vanderbron says that this move has lost customers but actually gained many customers without panels. According to Budget Home, it is high time that energy consumption is tailored to the times when green energy is abundantly available. “Then the power grid will also need to be weighted less,” he says.

Source: De Gelderlander

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