One third of Belgians prepared to not pay energy bills

One third of Belgians prepared to not pay energy bills
Protests in Brussels against high energy prices in February 2022. Credit: Belga / Juliette Bruynells

Polling institute Kantar has surveyed over 1,000 Belgians on the ongoing energy and climate crises, finding that one in three respondents are considering not paying their upcoming energy bills.

At the behest of French-speaking outlets La Libre and RTBF, Kantar conducted an opinion poll on climate change and energy crises. Researchers posed three questions to 1,101 respondents. The most revealing question was whether Belgians were willing to pay for exorbitant energy bills –which have steadily increased due to the war in Ukraine.

To that end, the study showed that one-third of respondents would be prepared not to pay their energy bills this winter, especially if the authorities do not take what they deemed to be adequate measures to help the population.

These figures also differ depending on the region in which a respondent resides. In Wallonia, 43% of respondants are considering not paying, compared to 28% in the capital and 29% in Flanders. This can be attributed to regional differences in energy prices – RTL Info reported in September that Walloons had higher energy costs than those in Flanders and Brussels.

The survey also asked what measures households have taken to address the issue of sky-high bills. Most common was turning down the thermostat, followed by turning off lights, limiting water consumption, and finally reducing their use of electrical appliances coming.

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However, there is a limit to the steps households can take to economise. For all their efforts, energy bills remain exorbitant leading many to accuse governments of inaction. In addition, the survey results show that many believe governments failing with regard to climate change.

Upwards of 60% of respondents believe that Belgium is not taking the necessary measures on global warming. Those aged over 55 expressed a high level of scepticism of their respective governments' current course of action.

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