5 April 2002 – A majority in the Dutch parliament oppose the privatisation of local utilities’ power grids, Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said it surveyed political reactions to a proposal from the mid-sized and small business umbrella group MKB that the electricity grid should for the coming few years remain in the hands of the municipalities and regional governments who currently own the local utilities.

MKB chairman Hans de Boer said the grids should not be sold off until the effects of the liberalised electricity market were known, the paper said.

Utilities including Nuon, Essent and Eneco are currently owned by a number of the local governments, which have expressed interest in selling the assets to private investors.

Another proposal under consideration in the parliament would limit the stakes the governments could sell off to 49 per cent.

Utilities have criticised proposals that would limit the privatisation of their assets, complaining the rules would deny prospective buyers access to the highest value part of the companies.