The average household pays €329 a year extra on its electricity and gas bill because of “hidden costs” in addition to energy consumption, the Flemish energy regulator VREG reports.
Energy providers and distributors using the national grid have certain responsibilities directly related to the consumption of electricity, such as the certification of green energy and the management of social benefits for low-income families to make sure they don’t have to go without heating and cooking in the winter.
Those costs are taken up in the bills received by businesses and domestic customers, without the exact destination of the funds being cited in the bill you receive.
According to VREG – fo Flanders – the obligations imposed by the regional government come to €1.6 billion for 2018. For the average family that comes to a bill of around €329. For businesses, those non-energy costs amount to around €4,200 a year.
The regulator Vreg describes these costs as “not negligible, but also not transparent”. Customers are not informed how much of their energy bill is composed of variable factors – whether to turn the computer off entirely at night – and invariable factors, like the costs the electricity companies are obliged to pay.
On the one hand, the customer can take action to reduce costs, for example by turning off lights, lowering the thermostat or improving insulation. But when it comes to the hidden costs, customers have no choice, even when it comes to changing providers.
“We hope that transparency this report brings will be the impetus for policy-makers to review their [public service obligations] and their means of financing,” said Pieterjan Renier, director-general of Vreg. “We have to make a payable energy transition a priority.”