Financial risks from TenneT’s foreign activities

Arno Visser: ‘Robust supervision of TenneT required’

As the owner of TenneT, the State of the Netherlands is exposed to financial risks as a result of the company’s foreign activities. When TenneT bought 40% of the German high-voltage network for €885 million in 2009, the Minister of Finance said that he did not want to spend any Dutch money on the German network. Nevertheless, he still accepted the risk, as the company’s shareholder, of having to make a contribution at some future point towards the cost of the company’s international activities. The two ministers involved could have given more information to the Dutch House of Representatives when they were asked about the financial risks associated with TenneT’s activities in Germany.

When TenneT was founded, the government decided that the company should remain publicly owned in order to guarantee a high-quality power supply to Dutch households and businesses. The question is whether Dutch households and businesses will derive any benefits from TenneT’s foreign activities and whether it is logical for TenneT to be allowed to perform large-scale activities in Germany, with their attendant risks.

These are the conclusions drawn in two audit reports published by the Netherlands Court of Audit on 25 February, on TenneT’s investments in the Dutch high-voltage network and TenneT’s purchase of the German high-voltage network.