In December 2015, the Dutch Regulatory Authority (Autoriteit Consument en Markt) required energy companies Eneco Holding N.V. (Eneco) and DELTA N.V. (Delta) to comply with the Dutch Network Unbundling Act (Wet onafhankelijk netbeheer) (the Act) by means of administrative enforcement orders. The Act contains a group prohibition, preventing electricity and gas network operators from being part of a vertically integrated group that includes energy generation, supply and trade activities.
Eneco and Delta objected against such administrative enforcement orders, requesting leniency. Also, others filed objections, requesting a stricter enforcement. However, the Dutch Regulatory Authority decided not to change its earlier decision and maintained that Eneco and Delta need to unbundle their electricity and gas distribution grid management from their energy generation, supply and trade activities. Eneco has to unbundle before 31 January 2017 and Delta before 30 June 2017.
Earlier, in June 2016, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Act's prohibitions are justified in public interest and in line with European Union law, overturning an earlier decision by the Court of Appeals in the court cases against the Act, filed by Dutch energy incumbents Essent, Eneco and Delta. The Dutch Supreme Court referred the Eneco and Delta court cases to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal to assess the Act's relation to the European Convention on Human Rights.