The right energy
When it comes to deciding on an energy provider, it can be easy to stick with the status quo and go for what’s easiest. But since the EU’s deregulation of the energy sector in 2007, which granted consumers the freedom to choose their supplier, people are becoming more aware of the possibility of changing providers.
The idea of a monopoly is slowly being phased out, and with the trend towards more environmentally focused energy solutions, ecological alternatives are becoming more popular. Currently three regional regulators and one federal commission, the CREG (Commission for Electricity and Gas Regulation), oversee the energy market’s operations.
www.brusim.be allows you to compare the cheapest options depending on your personal situation. The site is available in English, French and Dutch. Once you’ve done a preliminary fact-finding mission, it can be worthwhile to call your top few choices directly to confirm the prices.
With energy prices constantly fluctuating, it can also be advantageous to opt for a fixed-term gas or electricity rate. Electrabel currently has a fixed energy tariff in Brussels for two years or even longer, which freezes prices at a certain level. It can also be worth asking providers if they can tailor a solution for you to help save on your energy consumption.
Environmentally conscious consumers might also be drawn to Ecopower, a cooperative that supplies green energy in Belgium through wind and hydroelectric turbines installed in Flanders. At the end of 2012 it was providing green electricity to 1.3% of Flemish households.
Although more than half of Belgium’s electricity supply still comes from nuclear power sources, renewable energy is becoming more widespread. Many companies now claim to provide consumers with green energy. If you are eager to support renewable energy sources, do some research and canvas the views of likeminded friends, or consult local environmental societies and online forums.
Prepare in advance
If you’re moving to a property that’s already linked to the power supply, make sure to contact the energy company to request a transfer to your name at least a week in advance if possible. A meter reading should be arranged before you move in, either by you or the company. This transfer is very important as you can easily find yourself cut off and facing a trying wait before the administration has cleared and you are reconnected.
With houses not yet connected, a new account needs to be started. If you’re only going to be in Belgium for a short period of time, you may feel it’s not worth the hassle to research providers with a view to switching. However, if you’ve found a better deal than your current company, it’s relatively easy to change. You’ll be asked to supply your meter readings to both companies to ensure your bill is accurately calculated after you’ve left. Contact your company to find out the details. If you have a problem with a provider, log a complaint with the energy division of Belgium’s Federal Public Service.
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