Choosing energy providers is tricky, because it’s an important decision. You want to find a company that offers impeccable customer service together with significant savings.

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Since the liberalisation of the energy market, energy suppliers have multiplied, offering consumers a wide choice. But how can you get the benefits? How can you find the best energy provider? At first glance, choosing between fifteen or so companies looks like a difficult task. But the reality is quite different. All you have to do is look at the right information.

Compare energy prices and any promotions

In Belgium, the big suppliers such as Engie Electrabel and Luminus offer lots of promotions, but this is also true of smaller companies. With that in mind, how can you choose the best energy supplier and easily identify the most attractive electricity and gas prices?

First of all, concentrate on the energy section of your electricity or gas bill. The other sections, dedicated to network costs or taxes, depend on monopoly organisations or government authorities. You have no influence over their costs.

Compare gas prices or compare electricity prices to discover current promotions.The energy component includes three important elements: the price per kWh, the annual fee (a kind of subscription) and the green energy charge (called the cogeneration charge in Flanders). Their amounts vary depending on the supplier, but also on the price plan. It is thus essential to compare all the energy offers available on the Belgian market to identify the cheapest option. The simplest and quickest way of doing this is to use a website where you can compare energy suppliers.

This tool gives you access to all the current promotional offers. Usually reserved for new customers, they can sometimes transform fairly ordinary packages into exceptional deals. Don’t forget that reductions apply either to the energy price, or to the annual fee, or both.

Want to find out which current promotions would be the most beneficial for you? Don’t hesitate to call our energy advisers on 0800 37 456. They will take the time to analyse your needs and help you choose a gas or electricity supplier.

Consider whether you prefer a fixed or variable energy price

In order to compare the kWh rates that are best for you, you need to consider your electricity meter type (there is only one type for gas) and the way prices change.

Depending on your installation, you can sign up with a Belgian electricity supplier for a standard rate, an off-peak/peak hours option or an exclusive night rate. While this choice is fairly simple, the same is not necessarily true of the different rate types. You need to decide between a fixed rate and a variable rate for energy.

To make this easier, remember that a fixed rate offers a high level of security, as it remains the same throughout the contract, while a variable rate is updated regularly based on changes in fuel prices.

Did you know? You can choose different suppliers for electricity and gas and subscribe to a fixed rate for electricity and a variable rate for gas or vice versa.

Find out about the supplier’s environmental policy

Green suppliers invest in energy sources such as wind turbines.If you are concerned about environmental protection, you can defend your convictions by choosing a suitable energy contract. For example, you can sign up to a 100% green energy package. Many suppliers are now marketing this type of price plan.

On the other hand, few companies are actually investing in renewable energy – most are content to buy labels guaranteeing the origin of their energy. To be sure that your money is financing the energy transition, you can rely on the Greenpeace ranking. This gives market suppliers a score based on their environmental policy.

Natural gas, meanwhile, is far from green. So what can you do about it? Until biomethane becomes cheaper and is enough to cover consumers’ needs, you can choose a “carbon-offset gas” package. How does it work? The supplier commits to offsetting the polluting emissions from the gas consumed by the customer by supporting projects to reduce CO2 emissions. In Belgium, only Mega and Luminus offer this type of package, and it is important to note that these options are a bit more expensive than conventional gas packages.

Choose an energy supplier with high-quality customer service

Finding a cheap electricity or gas supplier is great, but price isn’t the only criterion. Imagine if you had a billing problem: would you still be happy to save money if it meant you couldn’t contact your gas or electricity provider? Probably not!

That’s why it is crucial to find out about a supplier’s customer service and how it works before choosing one of their energy packages. Specifically, pay attention to the following points:

  • customer service accessibility and responsiveness: while some suppliers can be contacted by phone, email and letter, others opt for 100% online communication. Similarly, they all decide on the opening hours of their customer service departments and respond more or less quickly to the requests they receive.
  • the billing frequency and payment methods: standing order, direct debit, Zoomit, monthly or quarterly instalments… Everyone will have their own preferences, but does your chosen supplier offer them?
  • complaints procedures: disputes with your energy supplier can occur. Whether they involve being unable to access the social tariff, compensation for an interruption to the supply or a lack of price transparency, these issues can be resolved by mediation. Check whether the supplier in question has a good reputation and a high or low number of complaints by consulting the annual report from the Energy Mediation Service.

Having trouble finding opinions about a specific supplier? Want to find out the strengths of each company in order to choose an electricity and gas supplier who meets your needs? Our advisers, who can be reached on 0800 37 456 or by e-mail, will be happy to answer your questions!

Check the terms of your energy contract

Before signing a gas or electricity contract, it is important to check the terms and conditions.Have you managed to narrow down your choice to a supplier and an electricity or gas package? The final stage involves signing an energy supply contract. But before putting pen to paper, it pays to take precautions.

It is in your interests to read the contractual terms carefully to make sure the gas or electricity supplier respects their legal obligations. For example, suppliers have to respond to any supply request within 10 working days and provide accurate information in the contract. This includes the length of the contract, the gas price or the electricity price and the procedure for moving home, failure to pay or fitting a budget meter.

Apart from these formalities, you obviously need to agree the contract start date with the supplier. If you are contacting them in order to switch energy supplier, make sure they take care of terminating your current contract. Remember, this service is free and you have 14 days to change your mind after signing.

How do you switch energy supplier in Belgium?

So now you know how to choose a gas and electricity supplier. What next? Nothing could be simpler: changing energy supplier takes just a few minutes and costs nothing. Just contact your new supplier, tell them the package you want to sign up to and give them the following information:

Did you know? If you’re not comfortable with this type of process, you can always call us on 0800 37 456. Our advisers are there to help and can take charge of making sure your new electricity or gas contract with your chosen supplier starts on the right date. Who says choosing an energy supplier is complicated?

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