'No capacity' not an argument, judge says, but share fairly in case of shortages

Netherlands: Grower has as much right to (extra) electricity connection as data centers

A grower who wants to expand will look for land, for a greenhouse builder who wants to erect the greenhouse, and for electricity. For that, the grower is dependent on the grid operator, but in the case of a tomato grower in North Holland, they did not quite cooperate. Result: a lawsuit. Conclusion: 'no capacity' is no argument for the grid operator to not have held up their end of the contract with the grower. 20 MVA is 20 MVA according to the judge, with one note: in case of shortages, share fairly.

A Dutch court dealt with the lawsuit the tomato grower had filed against the grid operator. The grower has expansion plans and wants to use the maximum contracted electricity (20 MVA). On top of the current 13.3 MVA, 6.7 MVA should be added.

The grower shares a connection with six data centers under construction. They already hit a brick wall when requesting extra capacity from the grid operator.

Arguments grid operator do not convince
After the refusal of the grid operator, the grower went to the ACM (Authority Consumer and Market) which were convinced by the argumentation of the grid operator. The grid operator points at the future demand by the data centers, which makes the expansion of the grower impossible. According to the ACM, this is a case of contractual congestion and not of factual congestion. The grid operator did point out the danger of overload of the involved substation, but this was not sufficiently substantiated according to the ACM.

The grid operator argued furthermore that the parties involved were asked to voluntarily participate in congestion management, but that the parties were unwilling to do so. Subsequently, the connection for the extra capacity did not happen.

Share fairly
The judge is now of the opinion that the grid operator, according to the Netcode, reasonably has to provide a solution. Although the grower demanded a penalty payment of 10,000 euros per day as long as there was no connection, the judge did not agree with this. The grid operator does have to pay the legal and collection fees, and provide the additional 6.7 MVA within one week after the verdict. With one note: share fairly. "The shortage as a result of contractual congestion will be divided in a 'non-discriminatory' way over the contracted parties."

Read the verdict here (in Dutch). 

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