Psychology student Sunny Stanulova, 23, currently spends €50 per month on service fees, but in the next academic year, this price will be raised to €75 monthly. “I think that’s quite a lot of money. It will have to come from my savings.” In all, Sunny spends €650 monthly on rent, which she manages because she works three jobs on top of her studies. “I mind dogs every once in a while, I’m a student ambassador for my degree programme, and I recently got a new job as a sales agent!” she tells us with great enthusiasm.
Increased energy consumption
Econometrics student Athaya Putri, 21, has a lease that covers water, electricity and gas consumption. This lease will remain in effect until the end of the academic year, meaning that she need not worry about incurring additional expenses. However, her landlord does worry about this, judging from the messages he has been sending his tenants on how to conserve energy. “He personally called me to ask if I was using an electric heater, because he believed that we were consuming more power than before. He showed us photos that proved that, which he was able to view in an app. But I don’t know how we could be consuming more power. We’re actually doing our utmost to conserve energy, which is good for the environment, as well.”
The National Institute for Family Finance Information (Nibud) has advised everyone to keep a close eye on their power bills. The Institute has been providing tips on how to reduce gas and electricity consumption in hopes of preventing people from incurring unnecessary additional costs. “But when prices rise as explosively as this, not even reducing your energy consumption will help you. So if you’re the kind of person who sets some money aside for the annual settlement of service fees, it’s probably a good idea to set aside a little more this year. However, there are many households that are already doing everything they can to reduce their energy consumption or aren’t able to set aside more money, and we’re very concerned about them.”
Prices have doubled
Students who are on a lease that does not cover gas and electricity consumption may incur more costs. David Tenenbaum, 21, studies business administration and rents a house in the city with two friends. The owners of the house insisted that the students make their own arrangements with regard to gas and power. Until recently, that wasn’t a problem for them, but when their energy supplier, Welkom Energie, went bankrupt in October, their new supplier informed them that prices would be more than doubled. “Instead of 130 euros, we now pay 300 euros per month. And new prices will be announced in April, and they may well be higher.” Since their landlord refuses to give them an all-inclusive lease and the students will study abroad after the end of the current academic year, a flexible contract under which they pay high rates for gas and electricity was their only option. David and his housemates will not be presented with the final bill until the end of the year. “Which will be absolutely huge. I’m considering getting an additional job just to be able to pay for all of it.”
At least students renting from Stadswonen and SSHxl need not worry about that. A Stadswonen spokesperson explained that the housing association is managing to keep electricity rates for its student accommodation buildings relatively low because it procures large amounts of power. “We always procure for longer periods of time, so that we can keep prices somewhat stable. For instance, we already know what we’ll be paying next year, which won’t be all that different from what we’ve paid in the last year.”
An SSHxl spokesperson also emphasised that students need not fear a gas price hike. “Our current contract with Greenchoice will remain in effect until 2023 and comes with fixed prices. Energy suppliers can’t change the terms of a contract, not even in cases where they find at the end of the year that they’ll incur absolutely massive costs for the procurement of gas.”