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Belgian government plans to extend social energy tariff

illustration picture shows a bill in front of an electricity meter in a house. (BELGA PHOTO MICHEL KRAKOWSKI)
09:51 09/12/2020

The Belgian federal government aims to help those struggling to pay their energy bills during the coronavirus crisis.

The parliament's social affairs committee will review a bill on Wednesday presented by the ministers for energy and economic affairs, and the state secretary for consumer protection, which details a plan to expand access to the social energy tariff, a reduced rate for electricity and natural gas aimed at certain categories of vulnerable consumers. The measure is funded through levies on electricity and gas.

The coronavirus crisis is weighing on the budgets of many households, especially with regard to energy bills: energy suppliers are receiving increasing demands for deferrals of payments. They even fear a doubling of the number of unpaid bills.

As well as those who currently benefit from the social energy tariff, such as the elderly and the disabled, single-parent families and pensioners in financial difficulty will be able to benefit as well as those whose income does not exceed €20,000 gross per year. Some 447,000 people will be eligible.

The plans detailed in the bill suggest an extension of the social tariff from February until the end of 2021.

Written by Nick Amies