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Netherlands: Energy aid arrives amid bakery closures

While most bakers fall under the Netherlands’ proposed Energy Cost Allowance (TEK), it arrives too late for artisan bakeries, which have taken the brunt of the abrupt energy cost increase, forcing many of them to go out of business.. Recent official debates are set to bring much-needed help for smaller bakery businesses, too. “The number of bakeries that have unfortunately closed is painfully illustrative of the fact that the regulation comes, at least for them, too late. That is why we once again call on the government to take action now,” stated the Dutch Association for Bread and Pastry Bakers (De Nederlandse Brood- en banketbakkers Ondernemersvereniging – NBOV), in a recent call to action. The organization represents around 1,600 affiliated bakers.

Dutch bakeries have seen costs rising as much as ten-fold since September, Reuters reported, as inflation reached 12% in the country in August, due to the sharp rise in gas and electricity costs.

After the TEK scheme was debated in the House of Representatives, NBOV welcomed some “great” steps to provide relief, including a point to remove the lower limit of 5,000 cubic meters or 50,000Kwh, meaning that the scheme will be applied to small energy-intensive companies, too. It is also set to open sooner than initially announced, from January 1 instead of April next year.

In the meantime, energy bill payments may be postponed until relief becomes available.

“We think the threshold price for eligibility for compensation is still too high. This threshold price is now EUR 1.19/cubic meter of gas and EUR 0.35/kWh of electricity. This is calculated including energy tax, ODE and network costs. This price is still about three times higher than the prices in 2021. We also aim for 100% compensation instead of 50%. Energy must be accessible and affordable. Returning to the old level is not realistic, but a price cap is an option,” the association stated.

NBOV continues to lobby for a tailor-made scheme and to have the threshold for energy costs lowered.

Photos: Patisserie Kuyt in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Credit: Patisserie Kuyt social media archive