Large companies’ gas consumption must decrease by 20 percent in an emergency: Energy minister

In the event of an acute gas shortage, all large companies will be obliged to reduce their gas consumption by approximately 20 percent. This will be at the expense of 2 percent of their turnover, according to a letter by Energy Minister Rob Jetten to the Tweede Kamer.

Should the gas crisis deepen further, the government will switch to more drastic measures, such as completely shutting down major users or even entire sectors. The Tweede Kamer does not count on this plan having to be implemented in the coming winter.

The Netherlands is currently in the first level of the plan for a gas crisis described by the government, that of an “early warning.” Jetten does not expect that it will be necessary to go to the second level in the short term.

Only if the third level is reached and the emergency is declared would large companies be obliged to save gas. For the first time, the energy minister has laid out in detail which crisis measures the Cabinet would take. The aim of the measures is to spare households, hospitals and other protected users such as small and medium-sized enterprises as long as possible. The pain will be felt first by unprotected users, namely industry and other large companies.

The Cabinet has chosen to initially oblige all unprotected users to use about 20 percent less gas in the event of an emergency, based on what they have purchased in the past three months. Only if the gas crisis worsens will large users be completely shut down. After that, gas-intensive sectors will also be shut down. If there is still too little gas available, then it is also the turn of all remaining unprotected users.

The Berenschot consultancy has estimated how great the consequences will be for companies if they are obliged to save gas. Their total turnover will decrease by 11 percent if all companies have to save 20 percent and large users and gas-intensive sectors are also shut down. The loss of revenue is 45 percent if all unprotected users are disconnected.

European Commissioner Frans Timmermans said on the political talk show Buitenhof that “the sense of urgency really needs to be higher” about the energy crisis. He recommended that Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Energy Minister Jetten “at least start telling people how serious it is. It is really very serious.”

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