Consumers face big hike in energy bills in January

Consumers signing up to a new energy contract will on average pay 36% more this month.  That’s the finding of an investigation conducted by VRT News that looked at all the contracts available on the Belgian market.

After a strong rise last fall prices have surged even faster now and little relief is in sight. Gas bills have risen most steeply: up over 47% on the month.  Electricity bills are up 25% since December.  The average family’s power bill stands at 5,400 euros a year – up from 3,900 last December. That works out at a monthly rise of 125 euros. 

The gas price at some suppliers rose 70% in a month.  Some families are seeing a 2,000 euro rise in their annual power bill.

Suppliers can offer different electricity prices depending on the plan and in a comparison be both the cheapest and the most expensive supplier.  Consumers need to compare all plans to get an accurate picture.

Leen Vandezande of the regulator VREG says consumers that use both electricity and gas faced annual bills of under 2,000 euros last year.  This has meanwhile risen to 5,500 euros. The whopping rise is the consequence of energy prices that have been under pressure for months now.

Energy expert Ruben Baetens of 3E points out that over the past six years consumers have been used to low energy prices.  “Due to the pandemic the gas price reached an historic low of 10 euros per Megawatt hour 18 months ago.  Recently, an historic high of 180 euros was recorded”.

Gas prices have now fallen back again.  So, it’s hard to say whether at the end of the day bills will remain sky-high.

The price situation also means more and more companies are taking fixed tariff plans off the market and switching customers to variable tariff plans.  Only five of the 17 suppliers still offer fixed tariff plans.

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