Water rates in Brussels to rise 15% next year

Water rates in Brussels to rise 15% next year
Photo by Sasikan Ulevik for Unsplash

The cost of water in the Brussels region is to increase by 15%, water company Vivaqua has announced.

The increase, approved this week by the regulator for domestic service as well as commercial and business clients, will not affect families in a precarious social position, who will continue to enjoy a preferential tariff.

One other change involves the deadline for payment of the bill, now extended from 15 to 30 calendar days.

The special tariff for vulnerable households is an important

“The Brussels government has decided to finance social benefits from 2022 for more than a quarter of Brussels households that are struggling to pay their water bill,” the regulator Brugel said in a press release.

For other consumers, water costs will go up by 15% in 2022 with prices indexed according to inflation in subsequent years until the end of 2026, when tariffs will be reviewed. Current increases due to inflation will only be calculated and applied from 2023.

According to Vivaqua, justifying the size of the increase, only two indexations have taken place since 2014, in 2020 and 2021. The income is no longer covering costs, the company said; last year bank debt amounted to €877 million.

The 15% increase is intended to compensate for the lack of any increase in the years between 2014 and 2019.

Meanwhile, families who experience difficulties in paying their water bill are estimated to represent more than one in four. For those customers, water bills can be expected to go down in 2022.

Another change for those families will be the disappearance of the progressive tariff applied to customers who use more water making them pay more per unit than those who consume less. The higher tariff is considered to discriminate against poor families, whose water consumption is often increased by old and less-economic equipment like washing machines, as well as leaks that go unmended.

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