The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Pressure on electricity supply means higher prices this winter

21:29 23/09/2018

Belgium is facing electricity supply shortages and rising bills for consumers as output from the country's nuclear power stations fails to keep up with demand, experts have warned.

Consumer association Test-Achats says energy bills are certain to increase this winter, after it was announced that the Tihange 3 reactor will be shut down for five months longer than planned. It will now not reopen until after the cold season, in March instead of late September.

According to Professor Damien Ernst, an energy expert at the University of Liège, rising wholesale electricity prices mean the average annual household bill could be €100 to €150 higher this year.

He said that with the country's power stations currently operating at about a third of their normal capacity - 2,000 MW out of a potential 6,000 - Belgium has to import energy from its neighbours on the "extremely tense" wholesale market.

According to Ernst, this Monday evening at about 21.00 will see the season's first big spike in the price Belgium pays for electricity, with wholesale prices expected to be 10 times higher than usual at €411 per megawatt hour.

He said it was worrying that such a price surge was occurring so early in the year. "These price peaks are likely to continue and be more frequent in the cold months," he added.

Supply problems are especially possible in November - when only one of Belgium's seven nuclear reactors will be operating, bringing capacity down to just 1,000MW. If November is cold, demand will far outstrip supply.

Danielle Devogelaer from Belgium's Federal Planning Bureau told VRT: "There is an increased likelihood that a number of towns will have temporary power cuts. The electricity supply in November will not always be sufficient to meet the total demand."

Belgian federal energy minister Marie-Christine Marghem said: "We remain very vigilant. We continue to observe the supply day by day."

Written by The Bulletin

Comments

Anon3

Perhaps since some of the blame for this mess can be placed on the current government, the government could make a gesture to ease the impending financial burden by lowering the VAT charged on our electricity bills back down to 6% from the current 21% inflicted by the same government a year or two ago.

Sep 24, 2018 11:55
danbru

Our annual household bill 100 to 150 euros higher?
This is roughly equivalent to the UNCONSTITUTIONAL "turteltaks" (2016-2017) in Flanders. And if Brat, I mean Bart Tommelein is given a free rei(g)n, "things'll get worse afore they get better"!
If they ever do.
And of course any shortage gives the authorities a nice excuse to hike prices up, whether that shortage is a result of their own incompetence or not, or the never-ending backstabbing between poluticians, and their incorrigible shortsightedness: no further than the next elections...
Take one look at the Palace of Justice and you understand how thorough our SIX Belgian governments can be at delivering the next cock-up. And the one after that. And then several more, for good measure...
Ha! The neighbours are playing Bachman Turner Overdrive now: "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

Sep 24, 2018 13:33
paradox

Charging a VAT on electricity is horrible.

Sep 27, 2018 07:47
paradox

Danbru is right...I have seen this business model myself over my long lifetime from electric companies/producers. They will keep the supply tight until they can raise the electric rates to a certain point, then they will bring the extra supply back on-line....and encourage people to consume all they want..at the new HIGHER rate...

Sep 27, 2018 07:49