“Power cut plan favours Flanders over Wallonia”

There are allegations that the ‘power cut plan’, proposed by Interior minister Melchior Wathelet (Francophone Christian Democrat), is imbalanced. According to Liège University Electromechanics professor, Damien Ernst, the plan favours Flanders over Wallonia. In the daily ‘Le Soir’ he has asked the government to justify what he has labelled an unfair decision.

Last week, Interior minister Wathelet proposed the so-called ‘power cut plan’. On a map of Belgium, it was revealed which substations will be cut off when the country faces the risk of a general power shortage. 72% of Walloon substations will be shut down, compared to only 38% in Flanders.

‘If what I think is correct, they will have to address this. The imbalance is too great”, according to Professor Damien Ernst.

“When zone 1 on the map gets cut off, this results in 5,6% of the Flemish substations being down, compared to 16,9% in Wallonia. There are similar differences throughout all the six zones. Even if the substations in Flanders have a bigger capacity, a difference this big could still not be explained.”

Political decision

On top of that, according to Mr Ernst, the plan is unfair because Wallonia uses less electricity than Flanders. “The power cuts should be evenly divided. It looks like the wealth is flowing from the South to the North of the country. We’re paying double the amount that Flanders does. And while the power cuts are indeed controlled, they will definitely impact our prosperity.”

Mr Ernst also points out that it’s Flanders lacking production capacity, not Wallonia. He suspects that there’s a political side to the decision. “The most important shareholder of transmission system operator Elia is a group of Flemish towns and municipalities. We could ask ourselves whether they have influenced Minister Wathelet’s decision.”

“Both Elia and the government have to justify the plan and do so transparently. If something suspicious comes to light, they will have to rectify this”, concludes Mr Ernst.