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Soaring prices will worsen energy poverty, Test-Achats warns

14:20 02/01/2022

The dramatic rise in energy prices is putting consumers and suppliers in difficulty, according to Belgian consumer association Test-Achats, which has warned that the situation will exacerbate energy poverty in Belgium.

Currently, according to figures from the federal regulator, CREG, a family with an average electricity consumption of 3,500 kilowatt-hours per year would pay €1,300 per year if current prices remained fixed for the whole year.

For gas, the situation is even worse since one year of gas consumption at the current price would amount to €2,800. Consumers on a variable energy tariff may suffer an increase of at least €1,350 on top of this.

Energy suppliers are also feeling the impact of this increase. Last week, struggling energy supplier Wats appealed to the courts for brankruptcy protection from creditors.

It is the third supplier to find itself in difficulty due to high energy prices. The suppliers Energy2Business and Vlaamse Energieleverancier have already gone bankrupt.

To avoid this situation and a growth in energy poverty, Test-Achats "asks the regulators, who have the legal mission of controlling the financial situation of suppliers, to impose a stricter financial cushion" and better protect consumers in the event of the bankruptcy of their supplier.

The organisation has also started a petition demanding that tax surcharges on electricity bills be scrapped. A substantial part of the average household electricity bill is made up of federal and regional taxes, a green energy levy and VAT.

Written by Richard Harris