Why is Statistics Netherlands (CBS) researching a new method for measuring energy prices?

CBS’ current method measures the rates offered to new customers, as reported each month in the data that energy companies send to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). In reality, most households pay different rates, for example because their price is fixed by contract for a specified time.

When the energy market is more or less stable, this has no effect on the measurement of the consumer price index (CPI) or the inflation rate derived from that index. However, the current rapid increase in energy prices is now having an impact. Although these higher prices were incorporated into the CPI straight away, many people will only feel the effect of the change once their fixed-rate contract expires. This means that the actual inflation rate experienced by many households is lagging behind the inflation rate used in the measurements, and is therefore lower than the measured rate. By the time these households start to experience the price rises, those higher prices will already have been incorporated into the CPI, and the inflation rate as measured will actually be lower than the rate experienced by these households.

The CPI will now use the real energy prices paid by these households to measure the price of energy in the month in which households actually start paying the higher prices.