Choosing an energy supplier should be done carefully. To avoid any regrets and to benefit from the savings that you are promised, start by checking the quality of the comparison tools available!
The subject of energy is constantly referred to and debated in the media, online or in person with family or friends. The issues discussed are prices, electricity and/or gas suppliers, market developments, constantly increasing bills… And people who have never changed energy supplier are often told: “Have you never changed your supplier? You should do what I did – I compared them on the internet and the whole thing was done in a few minutes!” This is a very good reflex, but on one condition… that you use a reliable comparison site.
This is why we have put together this article for you, which aims to differentiate between the various comparison tools available on the internet while highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each.
There are many websites that allow consumers to compare the different electricity and gas suppliers available on the Belgian market. In general, these comparison tools are available to individuals, but also to companies and SMEs, within a certain consumption limit (50,000 kWh of electricity and 100,000 kWh of gas).
There are three types of online comparison tools:
Preference is given to the first two categories. The comparison tools in the first category are set up by the Regions, so there can be no possible error. Those in the second category are also valid since they have obtained the CREG label. They are therefore required to display the official prices on their rate plans. On the other hand, comparison tools in the third category should be consulted with caution. They are not approved by CREG. Users therefore risk the possibility of pricing errors or a lack of information.
Each Region has set up a web portal to compare the rates of electricity and gas suppliers. These are offered by regional regulators and subject to federal regulations.
Residential customers as well as self-employed and SMEs can therefore input their consumption data onto these comparison sites to obtain a filter-free result of the various prices offered by all suppliers who publish their rate plans.
In Belgium, supply licenses are distinguished according to the three Regions and each Region has its own simulation and comparison tool:
The regulator for the electricity and gas marketin the Walloon Region is called CWaPE, which is the acronym for “Commission wallonne pour l’Energie” (Walloon Energy Commission). It is the official regulatory body for the Walloon electricity and gas markets. The CWaPE comparison site is called “COMPACWaPE”.
The regulator for the electricity and gas market in the Flemish Region is called VREG, which is the acronym for “Vlaamse regulator van de energiemarkt” (Flemish energy regulator). It is the official regulatory body for the Flemish electricity and gas markets. The VREG comparison tool is called “V-TEST”.
The regulator of the electricity and gas markets in the Brussels Region is called Brugel. It is the official regulatory body for the Brussels electricity and gas markets. Its simulation tool is called “Brusim”.
In addition to regional gas and electricity comparison tools, there are private CREG-approved comparison tools. At the moment, EnergyPrice.be is the only price comparison tool that is approved by CREG.
The CREG label guarantees the independence of the body consulted in terms of electricity and gas suppliers.
To qualify for this approval, the platform must:
With this label, you are therefore guaranteed to obtain exact prices, both in terms of energy rates (which vary depending on the supplier), but also in terms of transmission and distribution rates regulated by the network managers. In other words, you can be confident about the accuracy of all the items listed on your electricity and/or gas bill.
In a comparison, the large amount of information obtained may seem rather daunting at first. To help you more effectively compare and identify the results that best match your consumption profile, Comparateur-Energie.be provides personal support by telephone that is both independent and free of charge. In addition, to ensure real expertise in the Belgian energy sector, the advisers who answer you are located in Belgium and trained to help you understand your energy bill.
It is a bargain not to be missed for consumers wishing to avail of the help of advisers. The support service is available from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) from 8.45 am to 12.30 pm and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
Need a quick answer to any of your questions? A simple, fast and efficient online discussion service has also been set up on Comparateur-Energie.be. Just ask your questions at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. You can also use the chat directly via a web page dedicated to this service.
The online chat service advisers are available from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) from 8.45 am to 12.30 pm and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
Support would not be complete without an email help service. This gives you the opportunity to ask any questions and receive an answer within two business days when you contact our team. It is also possible to attach your latest electricity and/or gas bills (statements) in order to receive a complete comparative assessment in return.
For any consumer interested in the renewable aspect of their electricity supplier, the score issued by Greenpeace for each supplier provides a significant source of information. The NGO has set up a rating system to assess the investment of your current energy supplier or any other supplier in green energy.
To give you the opportunity to take into account the ecological aspect, we have therefore included this score in our price comparison tool.
Some providers, in addition to their rate plan, offer ‘welcome benefits’ to attract new customers. These promotions are often quite considerable in terms of the annual bill of the consumer and are mostly exclusive (available only on the comparison site).
In addition, if you wish to find out if you can avail of certain benefits, our energy advisers are happy to answer all your questions on 0800 37 369 or by e-mail at info@Energyprice.be.
Do you have a question or do you simply need reassurance after changing supplier? The energy advisers at Comparateur-Energie.be will answer all your questions concerning your future rates or the follow-up of your file.
On our platform, you can also take out a new energy contract immediately after making your comparison. This prevents you from wasting time switching between different platforms or forms, and in this way you can centralise your activity in one place.
Finally, if you move, you may need personalised support to manage your energy contracts. Not all comparison websites necessarily help you to confidently take this step. On Comparateur-Energie.be however, you can rely on our advisers to guide you through this process. When you move in, you can for example send your energy transfer document in order to receive a simulation for your new home. If you have questions about what to do when you move in with regard to energy, please let us know!
Like many areas, you have to exercise caution when it comes to the information you collect, and be critical so as not to be fooled.
A large number of sites offer to compare electricity and gas rates, but their approach is sometimes influenced by a privileged partnership with one supplier or another.
The electricity and gas regulatory commission penalises this type of approach by removing the label. The results obtained may be biased and there is no guarantee that the information provided is correct.
In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises, we strongly advise that you never rely on non-approved rates.
After having reviewed the different energy simulation and comparison tools on the internet, the conclusion is final. It seems obvious to opt for the comparison tools set up by the regulators as well as those with the approval of the federal regulator, i.e. with the CREG label.
The major advantage of private comparison tools approved by CREG lies in the promotions offered by suppliers. These allow consumers to make substantial savings. In addition, by including the Greenpeace ranking in our comparison tool, this also allows the more eco-responsible to opt for a genuinely green supplier. Furthermore, it might be wise to opt for an independent service that offers personal support, whether by email, telephone or instant messaging (chat).
If, on the other hand, the CREG label does not appear on the comparison website that you consult, treat the results with caution. They may not be entirely unbiased or complete.
It’s up to you now to compare prices and reduce your electricity and gas bills!