Both in March and May, a growing number of households were struggling to afford their energy bills, however, more than twice as many people in Belgium are now facing such problems as a result of the continued explosion of electricity and gas prices.
The number of customers requesting an instalment plan to defer and spread out payments for their energy bill has more than doubled since last year, a survey of the largest energy suppliers in Belgium conducted by Het Laatste Nieuws found.
In light of the skyrocketing energy prices, Belgium introduced a number of measures aimed at curbing them, including a VAT reduction on gas and electricity and one-time cheques for households, however, households continue to struggle to pay bills, especially costs for housing, transport and groceries have also become more expensive, further squeezing people's budget.
As a result of this, the largest energy suppliers in the country have noticed a remarkable increase in the number of applications for repayment plans.
TotalEnergies Belgium, the fourth largest supplier, said it has seen 2.5 times more requests for an instalment plan, while the other suppliers all speak of "a significant increase."
Most of the problems occur among customers paying the normal price and those with a social tariff, a lower tariff for electricity and natural gas for households with a low income.
Not only is the repayment of the final invoice becoming more problematic, more and more customers are unable to meet their advance payments.