Earlier this week Ms Demir announced that she wanted to find around 200 million euro to pay for measures to help Flemings cope with sky-high energy bills. Friday’s announced has given clarity on what measures are to be taken. The lion’s share of the cash has come from the levy imposed on electricity consumers to pay for the electricity distributors’ public service obligations. These include street lighting.
As a one-off measure this levy will be suspended during the coming year. Rather than by consumers, the bill (201.6 million euro including VAT) for the distribution companies’ public service commitments will be paid for out of the Energy Fund.
The measure will serve to reduce an average household’s electricity bill by around 50 euro during the coming year. Ms Demir told VRT News that when taking the measure, the Flemish Government had above all sought to help families, single people, small businesses, local shops and bars.
The Flemish Government is also to scrap a number of grants that it pays out that are financed through levies imposed on consumers’ energy bills. One of these is a subsidy given to help pay for a newly built house to be connect to the mains gas supply. Ms Demir’s office says that scrapping the grants and the levy that is imposed to pay for them will knock a further 34 million euro of the total amount Flemings pay in energy bills.
Earlier this week the Federal Government announced measures to help households cope with the soaring cost of energy. The extension of the social tariff, a reduced rate poorer families pay for their energy, to a wider group has been prolonged and those that are entitled to the social tariff will be given a further reduction of 80 euro of their energy bills. The Federal Government opted to direct the lion’s share of its efforts to help Belgian’s cope with the steep rise in energy bills to less well-off households, rather than as some had suggested reduce the VAT rate on gas and electricity from 21% to 6%.