'Our idea is good for the wallet and the climate'

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

Princen is straightforward, and the director explains that the power company incurs a lot of extra costs when the sun starts to shine in full, something that is actually beneficial to 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 power free on weekends next spring and summer for those without solar panels.

It's not the first time Budget Energy has decided to make the people who cause it pay for the cost of the net-metering scheme, which offsets electricity consumed and delivered. For example, the company tried 2 years ago by starting to balance monthly instead of annually. That intention de facto kicked the bottom out from under the balancing scheme. With the Consumers Union 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 creating a waste problem. On days when the sun is most favorable for the panels, so much is sometimes generated that energy 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 states. 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 will be provided only to those who sign a new one-year contract, not with variable or multi-year contracts. Buget Home is not the first provider to start with this idea. Vanderbron, for example, started it last year. Vanderbron says that this move lost customers but actually gained many customers without panels. According to Budget Home, it is high time that energy consumption is matched to the times when there is a lot of green energy available. "Then the power grid will also need to be weighted less," he says.

Source: The Gelderlander