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Saving €400: 'Energy package' to offset mounting costs comes into force

Saving €400: 'Energy package' to offset mounting costs comes into force
Credit: Belga / Michel Krakowski

The Federal Government's "basic energy package" has come into effect, which will see many people get a discount on their energy bills in November and December.

Electricity is now 84.7% more expensive than a year ago, while the price of natural gas is up by 130.6% since October last year. In light of these skyrocketing costs, the Federal Government agreed upon a support package which allows consumers to automatically receive a concession for gas and electricity in the coming two months.

The package, which was agreed upon on 16 September and given the go-ahead at the end of last month, aims to offset high energy bills by giving a large group of people an allowance for gas (€135 per month) and electricity (€61 per month), providing a total of around €400.

Both amounts will be deducted from advance or settlement invoices before 1 January 2023, according to the FPS Economy. "If that invoice is less than the amount of the basic electricity package, the supplier will transfer the remaining amount to you by bank transfer no later than 18 January 2023," a statement on the website read.

Who will benefit from this measure?

All households with a variable energy contract or with a fixed contract dating from after 30 September last year will be able to benefit from this measure. For the discount to be correctly allocated, it is vital that the data on the customer's energy contract matches their data in the national register.

The discount will not be given to cover the energy bills of people's second homes, and people already entitled to the social tariff are also excluded from this measure, while the highest earners will have to repay part of the discount afterwards through taxes.

Due to an initial request for a second reading of the text by the opposition party N-VA, Belgium's Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten's cabinet feared that the premium would not be able to take effect in time. Every effort is being made to publish the text in the Official Gazette as soon as possible so that everything can come into force on time, VRT NWS reports.

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Energy suppliers are now waiting for the Federal Government to communicate exactly which customers are entitled to the basic energy package, data that is expected to be given from 10 November, meaning they can start calculating the discount on the bill from then onwards.

For most people, this support measure won't be added to their energy bills until December, however, the rebate for November and December will be settled together in one go, either in November or December. For gas, this will amount to a discount of €270, and around €120 for electricity.

The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a second basic energy package until March next year, however, this support measure has not yet been legally defined and still has to be approved by the Federal Parliament.

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