On 3 April 2012, the NMa issued a decree setting out a model contract for the supply of electricity and gas to small users. Pursuant to Article 95na(2) of the Electricity Act 1998 and Article 52ca of the Gas Act, energy suppliers are required to offer to supply energy to small users under, in any event, a prescribed model contract. Offers may, in addition, be made under other forms of contract as the supplier sees fit. The model contract is intended to enable small users to easily compare the offers of different suppliers. The only difference is the price; all other contractual terms are the same. The NMa has opted for a model contract consisting of the following pre-determined – and largely standardised – components, to be sent together as a package:
- the confirmation letter clearly setting out the most important elements of the contract;
- the terms of the contract, setting out exactly the same information in the same order;
- the general conditions, which are the same as the model conditions of Dutch energy industry association Energie Nederland;
- the applicable tariffs;
- the quality standards and the service conditions.
Tariffs may only be amended twice a year: on 1 January and on 1 July. Changes in tariffs must be communicated at least one week beforehand. The contract can be terminated by the user with notice at any time at no cost; the notice period required under the contract must be no more than 30 days.
The model contract is applicable to all suppliers with effect from 1 July 2012. It will still be possible to make offers using other forms of contracts.