Wherever you live, utility costs can be a pain in the backside. Looking at your energy bill can make you seriously consider going hermit and living in a cave. So how can you reduce the costs of that hefty energy bill in the Netherlands?
We’re not going to tell you to put on a jumper or to start wearing socks to bed — instead, here are 10 real things you can do in the Netherlands to cut down that energy bill (so you can have a bit more cash to spend on important things, like poffertjes.)
1. Turn down your heating at night
Did you know by turning down the heating to 15 degrees at night you could save up to €100 a year? You can be snug in your bed and sleep happily knowing you’re saving cash! 💤
Even turning down the heating at night by just one degree can save you up to 7% on your yearly energy bill in the Netherlands — and those extra pennies can go towards pints in the pub.
Tip! If you have underfloor heating, turn your thermostat down by just two degrees overnight instead — otherwise, you’ll spend more money heating it up in the morning. 😉
2. Switch energy providers regularly
In the Netherlands, you can choose between fixed and variable energy rates. Variable rates typically change every six months — on January 1 and July 1. With fixed rates, the energy price remains the same for the entire duration of your contract.
While variable rates are great when energy prices are going down, total energy costs are usually lower with a fixed-rate contract. Experts also predict that energy prices will go up again in the new year, so making fixed contracts the more attractive option at the moment.
A one-year contract with fixed rates is often the cheapest option, as it allows you to scout out the best deal every year and potentially get a discount. 🔍
How do you find the right energy provider to save you cash? Compare them all, of course! Luckily, comparison websites like Partner Pete can help you find the best deals on your utilities and get you connected in a few simple steps — entirely in English!
3. Make use of reduced night rates
The easiest way to save money on your Dutch utility costs? Use power at night! Electricity in the Netherlands is cheaper during “off-peak hours” — which is at night, during the weekend, and on public holidays.
This means that it’s smart to do your laundry on a Sunday instead of Monday, turn on the dishwasher before you go to sleep, and charge laptops and smartphones overnight.
Check with your energy provider to find out the exact times for your province! But beware: you’ll need to have a smart metre that automatically switches between the two rates — old metres won’t cut it anymore.
Wondering what’s a smart metre? Great question! 👇
4. Invest in a smart meter
Dutchies pride themselves on being smart, and this is no different when it comes to tracking their energy usage. 🧠 A smart meter tracks exactly how much energy you use — meaning you only pay for your own personal usage.
Even the Dutch government is making an effort to go green by making it more expensive for those who don’t. From July 1, anyone with an old energy meter in the Netherlands will be charged the same rate night and day — meaning they will no longer be able to make use of the reduced night tariff.
If you switch to a smart energy meter, you can keep getting those sweet discounts AND only pay for the power you actually use! Cha-ching! 💰
5. Get a Dutch app to control your appliances
A number of energy suppliers in the Netherlands have their own apps, especially if they provide one of those smart meters we mentioned earlier. However, there are also a number of useful energy-tracking apps that are not connected with a specific provider.
Huisbaasje (Landlord) lets you compare your energy usage to that of other households, and will even notify you when your energy contract is due to expire.
Meanwhile, the UMeter app lets you know your energy consumption and gives you insight into the yield of your solar panels — a great choice if you’re going green!
6. Choose a green energy provider
What’s better than just saving money? Also saving the planet! Green energy is an increasingly popular (and affordable) option for Dutch consumers. With the Dutch government heavily subsidising green energy, it will often cost you less than grey energy — a.k.a any energy that isn’t green.
Many Dutch green energy providers also offer discounts and promotional packages to make your switch from grey to green smooth and easy. It’s a win for the environment and for your bank balance. 💪 🌱
7. Install solar panels
You might not think so, but solar panels are a double win for your wallet and your carbon footprint — thanks to the Dutch net metering system. It’s pretty simple: if your solar panels generate more energy than you use as a household, you can send the excess energy to the public grid.
The net metering law states that your energy supplier then has to deduct this excess energy from your bill.
The Dutch government will however slowly start phasing this system out in 2023 — meaning the best time to get solar panels is now.
8. Make sure your house is properly insulated
The Netherlands is known for its gorgeous old canal houses. While these are beautiful, they were often built before modern-day insulation was invented.
If you own a house in the Netherlands, it’s worth investing in insulating it properly.🔨This may seem like a big cost upfront, but you will reap the rewards in years to come when your heating isn’t (literally) going out the window.
If you’re renting and think your home could be more energy efficient, talk to your landlord. However, if they refuse to help, there are also some cheap tricks that you can try if you can’t afford a complete revamp. Try sealing drafty windows with self-adhesive draft tape and make sure you have good ventilation to ensure you’re not heating a humid house (which soaks up more energy).
9. Change out old devices
Household appliances are like cars: the newer the model, generally the more energy efficient it is. ⚡ The fact is that household items made before the year 2000 are like your dad’s old Jeep — greedy guzzlers. Getting a newer fridge, or switching from a gas stove to an induction hob will require much less energy.
Not sure which models are the most efficient? Look out for the EU energy label. You’ll probably recognise the colour coded list of energy efficiency. This ranks from A to G (dark green A+++ is the most efficient, G being the least efficient).
10. Use your devices wisely
Smart meters, smartphones, smartwatches … the world is full of smart devices that can do a lot of the hard work for you. But sometimes, we need to be smart too — especially when it comes to how we use our household appliances and electronic devices.
So here are a few things you can do to cut your Dutch energy costs even further according to the Dutch National Institute for Budget Information:
- Use LED lighting instead of incandescent and halogen lamps, as they are up to 85% more efficient.
- Turn off appliances that you’re not using — this can save you up to €100 per year.
- When you’re done charging your phone and laptop, don’t leave the charger in the socket.
- Favour an electrict kettle over the stove when boiling water. Don’t boil more water than you need — this saves energy AND water.
- Defrost food from the freezer in your fridge instead of the microwave. The cold that’s being released will be used for cooling, making the refrigerator use less energy.
These handy tips will turn the day you receive your utility bill from something you dread to something you eagerly await (or at least more so than the letter from the tax office) — even if just to see how much money you managed to save.
Need more handy tips to save money on energy costs in the Netherlands? Get in touch with PartnerPete. They can help you find the right energy provider that best suits your expat needs and saves you money — all of this in English, of course.
Do you know of any more handy tips to save money on your energy bill? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Andrew Popov/Depositphotos (Modified)
This article was originally published in July 2021, and was fully updated in October 2021 for your reading pleasure.