Entrepreneurs who have been burdened by sky-high energy prices in recent months can receive compensation through the Energy Costs Allowance (TEK). The cabinet believes that several tens of thousands of companies can make use of the scheme.
It is good that the counter is now finally opening, say entrepreneurs’ clubs MKB-Nederland and VNO-NCW. “We fought hard for it and entrepreneurs had to wait a long time for it. Now we have to take a good look at how the scheme works in practice,” says spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg.
Because there are some question marks about this, all the more so because the advance amount that the government initially pays was suddenly reduced yesterday from 50 to 35 percent of the total subsidy amount.
Based on a calculation with model prices and within a certain price ceiling, entrepreneurs receive an advance within a few weeks. The final calculation and settlement will follow next year, partly based on the energy prices in 2023. Now that they have started to decline, the question is how much support will actually remain for companies.
The TEK can be requested from March 21, 9:00 a.m. until October 2 via rvo.nl and with retroactive effect for the period from November 1, 2022 to the end of 2023.
The subsidy includes:
for companies with a maximum of 250 employees and 50 million euros in turnover with an annual consumption of more than 5,000 cubic meters of gas or 50,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. at least 7 percent of the turnover (over 2022) consists of energy costs.
The measure applies if gas becomes more expensive than 1.19 euros per cubic meter and 0.35 euros per kilowatt hour of electricity. The government pays half of the increase above that price up to a maximum of 160,000 euros per company.
Entrepreneurs receive an advance of 35 percent of the support. The final amount will be calculated next year.
Entrepreneurs have also previously expressed strong criticism of the fact that 12.5 percent of an entrepreneur’s turnover should consist of energy costs. That is now 7 percent, but that is still too high for many, they think.
Many butchers are not eligible for support, says trade association Royal Dutch Butchers (KNS). And that is difficult, because they already have to deal with higher costs, from purchasing to wages.
‘2 million a year’
It also applies to industrial bakers that not everyone can get help, says the Dutch Bakery Association. Moreover, the maximum amount of 160,000 euros is not much, says director Wim Kannegieter.
“If you consider that an average bakery has energy costs in the range of 1.8 to 2 million euros per year.”
‘No bacon for steak prices’
Butcher Koos van Essen from Wateringen does not intend to apply for support, he tells RTL Z. “I will not reach that 7 percent,” he says. That is good news on the one hand, because a large share. But also a pity, because his energy costs rose by thousands of euros per month last year and are still high. “It’s less.”
The purchase of meat and personnel costs have also increased recently and that cannot all end up on the customer’s plate: “I can’t sell bacon for steak prices,” says the butcher. Last year, he was therefore still gloomy.
In the meantime, however, Van Essen sees that the customer keeps coming, even though the cheaper products are especially popular. Grilled sausage instead of roast beef. “I can also manage without support.”
‘Cigar from your own box’
Marco Hartman, owner of snack bar ‘t Harkje in Poeldijk, will apply for the support. His energy bill rose to more than 5,000 euros a month last year. That is now about half, thanks to falling prices and measures such as an economical freezer. “It’s manageable, but still double what it was,” says the entrepreneur.
Hartman is happy with the help, but also calls it a cigar from its own box after months of high energy costs. He also fears that the support will become tenners for some entrepreneurs. “I’ve been an entrepreneur for thirty years and I can handle it financially, but that’s not true for everyone,” he says. According to him, anyone who wants to start a business now has almost no chance with all the costs.
Is the support still on time? According to Hartman, it will be especially difficult for entrepreneurs who also have to pay off their corona debts. A large group has not yet started with this and the Tax and Customs Administration wants to collect that in the coming months. “They have to dock,” says Hartman, who thinks that this will not work for some.
The number of bankruptcies is still lower than before the pandemic. Nevertheless, several bakers, among others, have already given up on it because of the high costs. About fifty traditional butchers had to close their doors last year, partly due to the high prices, says KNS.
Thanks to the TEK scheme, according to Minister Micky Adriaansens, extreme risks must be covered, but not everything can be prevented, she said during the recent elections in conversation with De Ondernemer. “There is always entrepreneurial risk. I can’t take that away.”
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