At least 50,000 Belgian customers have still not received their end-of-year energy bills for 2022. Most of invoices include refunds from suppliers, which are of particular interest to households burdened by the ongoing energy crisis, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
Belgium's Energy Ombudsman Service, which is in charge of mediating citizens' energy concerns, has been inundated with complaints from customers, who have not been sent their final energy bill from 2022.
Normally, households should not have to wait for more than six weeks to receive their invoice, most of which included a refund last year due to the rise in energy prices, but over 50,000 of them are yet to be filed their bills.
Energy suppliers have sought to absolve themselves of any blame by explaining that a lot has already been done on their end to reduce the number of customers yet to receive their bills. They compared the current situation to the one in September of last year, where 240,000 households - 4% of all customers - had not received their energy bills on time.
According to them, the delay can be attributed to network operators, in charge of households' electric metres, who have been accused by suppliers of failing to pass on customer data on time.
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As a result, the Energy Ombudsman Service has called for customers to be compensated for each month that their invoice is overdue. "The compensation would be equal to the costs that suppliers charge in the event of non-payment," Eric Houtman of the service argued, "which is usually around €7.5 to €8."
However, given suppliers' reluctance, any such measure is unlikely to be implemented. "We will perhaps look at possible case-by-case compensation," Björn Verdoodt a spokesperson for Flemish supplier stated, "but if we are not the cause of the delay, we should not be responsible for compensation.