Excellent network management

Supply reliability of the electricity grid

In 2021, our customers were without electricity for an average of 20.9 minutes (2020: 23.2 minutes). which is under the target threshold of 23 minutes. The largest drop was realised in the medium-voltage grid. The absence of heatwaves and long periods of hot weather kept the number of malfunctions in the medium-voltage grid below last year. The annual outage duration for high-voltage outages was also lower than in 2020. More faults occurred in the low-voltage grid however. The number of unique cable numbers in the power grid associated with more than five outages per year was 22, which is more than the target and higher than last year (17).

Power grid outage duration and causes

  • * The average for the Netherlands in 2021 is not yet known.
Repeat outages

Fewer and shorter disruptions 

Liander is installing more and more sensors in the power grid. Smart Cable Guard (SCG) is a sensor system that detects and pinpoints weak spots in the underground electricity network, ideally before these lead to outages. Using this system, in 2021 we prevented 39 power cuts and shortened the duration of 262 others. At the end of 2021, we had over 2,100 SCGs monitoring our network.

Supply reliability of the gas grid

Gas outages are relatively uncommon. The main cause of fluctuations in the gas outage duration is ad hoc outages caused by a third party, for example during excavation work, which often leave customers without gas for a long time.

Outage duration of gas grid and causes
  • * The average for the Netherlands in 2021 is not yet known.

Excavation damage campaign

In the Netherlands, gas and power outages are often the result of excavation damage. Excavation damage accounts for 17% of the consumption outage minutes in the case of gas, and 21% in the case of electricity. In collaboration with the other network operators, we reran the annual ‘Veilig Graven’ (Know What's Below) campaign in April 2021. The campaign alerts consumers, contractors and landscapers to the risks of excavation damage when working in gardens with an excavator, auger or shovel. The campaign also emphasises that users of excavators have an obligation to report planned excavation work (KLIC report) to the Land Registry and offers tips on working with an earth auger or shovel.

Offering smart meters

Smart meters help customers keep track of their energy usage. In April 2021, we successfully completing the statutory task assigned to us of offering a smart meter to all our small-scale customers. Most of our customers (87%) responded positively to our offer and had a smart meter by that date. At the time of writing, more than 7 million requests for data are sent every day to the total of 5 million smart meters that have been installed. Half come from energy suppliers and service providers, who use the data for consumption reports.
In 2022, we will continue our efforts to increase and maintain the number of smart meters. We do this in close cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in respect of the statutory preconditions and with implementation partners, such as contractors.

Access to energy

As a network operator, we believe that energy should be accessible and affordable for everyone. During the extreme winter weather in February 2021, Liander took appropriate action to ensure that everyone had access to electricity and heat. For example, underground work was postponed until after the frost period. Furthermore, Liander temporarily stopped disconnecting households with payment difficulties from the gas and electricity grids. In this context, we go further than the law requires. The law states that we must stop disconnecting customers if it freezes in De Bilt (the site of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) for 48 hours. Every week, we take a look ahead to determine whether the average temperature will be below zero in any 24-hour period. In addition, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the network operators as a group, represented by Netbeheer Nederland, decided to exercise more leniency in the process for disconnecting consumers in arrears.

Energy tariffs and unilateral termination

Energy prices rose rapidly in 2021. As a result, in 2021, we saw energy suppliers unilaterally terminate contracts with their customers or increase their tariffs mid-term. Some energy suppliers even went bankrupt. This had a major impact on customers. If connected customers do not have a contract with an energy supplier for an extended period, we eventually have to disconnect them. Together with the Authority for Consumers and Markets, politicians and suppliers, we try to minimise the adverse consequences for households and businesses. Furthermore, these high energy tariffs highlight the need to combat energy poverty and to speed up implementation of insulation improvements and sustainability measures. The outgoing government took action last year in this regard and the European Union published a toolkit of measures for the member states.