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Setting up your home utilities - from water to internet
Three regional regulators and one federal commission oversee the energy market’s operations. A meter-reading company passes on information about energy consumption to the power companies, who handle bills. Sibelga operates the distribution grid, which carries the electricity on behalf of the energy companies. The main providers are Electrabel, Luminus, Lampiris and Essent. Ecopower is a cooperative that supplies green energy through wind and hydroelectric turbines.
With prices constantly fluctuating, it can be advantageous to opt for a fixed-term gas or electricity rate. Providers can also tailor a solution to help save consumption. If you’re moving to a property that’s already linked to the power supply, contact the energy company to request a transfer to your name at least a week in advance.
A meter reading should be arranged before you move in, either by you or the company. This transfer is important as you can find yourself cut off and facing a wait before you are reconnected. With houses not yet connected, a new account is started. If you have a problem with a provider, log a complaint with the energy division of Belgium’s Federal Public Service.
Although more than half of Belgium’s electricity supply comes from nuclear power sources, renewable energy is becoming more widespread. If you are keen to support renewable energy sources, do some research, or consult local environmental societies and online forums. Shop around and keep yourself up to date on price changes and alternatives to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.
An English-language price comparison website compares all the suppliers in your area and suggests the best deal and helps you switch provider.
Water services in Brussels are provided by Vivaqua. The 100% public company is also responsible for reading meters, invoicing and servicing distribution pipes and the sewage network. In case of an emergency, call 02.739.52.11.
Phones, TV and internet
Shopping around before deciding on your provider is recommended – some companies have a great internet package but might not offer any TV channels in English. Watch out for internet data usage limits. Should you exceed your limit before the end of the month, most companies will curb your internet usage to the bare minimum needed.
Before you start comparing prices, ascertain which companies operate in your area. Some providers operate in parts of Brussels but not others; check their website to see if your address is compatible. Most companies offer internet on its own but also suggest packages that add TV, fixed-line telephone and even mobile use. Most offer discounts for new clients.
Contact your provider to get your connection activated. You can do the TV installation yourself, or call a technician. There is generally an activation fee for new customers. Any contract can be terminated provided you have paid the monthly subscription fee for at least six months. After six months, any customer can break the contract without incurring a penalty.