Martijn van de Hel and Réshmi Rampersad are representing an energy supplier in appeal proceedings before the Rotterdam Court against the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (“ACM”). ACM has imposed a fine on the energy supplier for offering energy contracts for business purposes to self-employed workers (or independent contractors) at their home addresses. The energy company appealed that decision of ACM.
One of the questions addressed in this case is when a self-employed worker, who works from home, acts as a consumer when entering into an energy contract for his or her home. In 2019, ACM called on all energy suppliers to offer consumer contracts to business owners (such as self-employed persons) who work from home and who wish to enter into an energy contract at their home address. ACM believes that if a business owner enters into an energy contract at his or her home address, the consumer rules apply, in principle. In that case a business owner must be regarded as a consumer rather than a business customer, according to ACM. This means, among other things, that an energy supplier must charge such customers a lower termination fee.