Exactly 5,383 owners of solar panels on their homes are missing out on Flemish government subsidies for feeding their surplus production back into the national grid, according to figures provided by energy minister Bart Tommelein. Since 2016 owners of solar panels – ubiquitous on the Flemish landscape as anyone who has taken the train will know – has had to re-register with their distribution grid management company, whereas previously registration was with the energy regulator VREG.
Since then, whose who have failed to make the switch have failed to receive the premium to which they are entitled, with little done to inform them.
Groen member of parliament Johan Danen requested the figures fro Tommelein’s department to gauge the extent of the problem. “I find it hardly customer-friendly for the grid managers to wait almost two years waiting for people to register on their own,” he said. “When it comes to bills from Eandis and Infrax they’re quick enough to remind you, but when it comes to paying out, it’s a different story.”
According to Tommelein’s office, meanwhile, the money owed can still be claimed. “An automatic payment isn’t possible,” a spokesperson explained, “because the reading on the meter has to be registered.” But there is no deadline on registering with the local distributor and making a claim backdated two years.
According to Danen, the two main distributors ought to make an effort themselves to contact clients who have not yet registered, rather than holding on to their money, in most cases without the owner’s knowledge or permission.