A half a million people in households already enjoy the social tariff for gas and electricity. Starting February an extra 447,000 people will qualify for cheaper gas and electricity.
The social tariff is the lowest price on the market. It is enjoyed by people on benefit like minimum subsistence benefit – confusingly termed the ‘living wage’ in Belgium - , seniors with guaranteed minimum income, households that include a person who is handicapped. The social tariff follows price movements on the energy markets, but it remains the lowest rate and will be applied no matter which supplier you have.
Many people who are struggling like e.g. singles, single parents and many other seniors do not qualify. This will now change, albeit temporarily. In future, anybody on 1,630 euros before tax or less a month will be able to qualify. The measure is being taken to benefit groups that are struggling amid the corona pandemic.
Research has indicated one in five Belgian families struggles to pay energy bills. The new measure will apply for one year. “We’re earmarking 176 million euros for the measure to double the number of people on the social tariff for a year’ says energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten of the Flemish greens.