On 10 February 2017, the CREG, the European leader in the field, made a new online tool available to Belgian electricity and gas customers.


Summary


CREG Scan” is now available on the website of the Commission de Régulation de l’Électricité et du Gaz [Gas and Electricity Regulatory Commission] (the federal energy regulator). This useful tool allows individuals to compare their energy contract and check whether it’s time to switch supplier.

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How CREG Scan works

The CREG tool, called CREG Scan, is very simple to use: in just a few clicks, the user receives a comparison of their current contract with two other deals: the most competitive and the least competitive for the current month.

The information to be provided when using CREG Scan is as follows:

  • The type of energy you wish to compare: electricity or gas;
  • The type of consumer, in other words private individual or business customer (SME or self-employed person with a maximum consumption of 50,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) for electricity and 100,000 kWh for gas.
  • Your place of residence: Wallonia, Flanders or Brussels-Capital Region;
  • Your current energy supplier;
  • The name of the product you currently receive from your supplier;
  • The date of your price plan, in other words the month in which you took out your current product.
Formulaire du CREG Scan
The form is only available in French and Dutch.

After completing the various fields, you will receive the following information:

  • The price of the cheapest energy supply product on the market for the current month;
  • The price of the most expensive product on the market for the current month;
  • The name and the position of the product selected by the user compared with the two prices mentioned above;
  • An essential detail about the product chosen by the user: active or dormant contract.
creg scan simulation avec Luminus
The orange mark represents the cheapest product on the market, the purple one represent the most expensive one, and the blue bar represents your current price.

In the example above, we have chosen the Actif+ product from Luminus. According to CREG Scan, the cost of this product is close to the most expensive offer on the market for the month of November 2020. Households that use this product should therefore seriously consider changing their supplier or, at least, their price plan.

By looking at the price line presented by CREG Scan, the consumer can instantly see where their electricity and/or gas contract sits in relation to the current market prices and can then move on to do an online energy price comparison.

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Advantages of CREG Scan

CREG Scan allows you to check whether the contact you have signed with your supplier is still competitive or whether, conversely, it is above the current market rates.

If the cost of your current contract is similar to the cheapest current market price, there is no need to switch supplier or deal. When you took out your contract, you chose a competitive deal which is still competitive now. If, however, the cost of your contract is close to the highest gas or electricity price in the market, it may be time to compare your deal and choose another supplier or another deal. CREG Scan is therefore a very useful tool in this regard.

This test will also tell you whether your current deal is “dormant” or active”. A dormant contract is a contract that is no longer offered by the supplier (or whose name still exists but whose price plan has been changed). In 2020, a publication from the CREG stated that 500,000 Belgian households had this type of contract.

However, all suppliers are obliged to update the price plans for dormant products, even if they are no longer available. This means that you may find products on the supplier’s website that actually no longer exist.

CREG Scan and price comparison site: what’s the difference?

So what is the difference between a price comparison site and CREG Scan? An online comparison site such as Energyprice.be only references the active products on the market. This means that when you do your search you are comparing current market prices rather than the price of your contract, which was signed some time ago. Thanks to CREG Scan, it is now possible to compare a deal which is no longer available or which is several months old with gas and electricity deals currently on the energy market. This is a real advantage since the vast majority (around 75%) of the energy contracts of Belgian households do not appear on the comparison sites.

By using this tool, price-conscious consumers can also check whether their decision to switch supplier a few months ago was a sensible one. Even though the rate of switching supplier in Belgium is among the highest in Europe, Belgian citizens rarely choose the most competitive contract. Worse still, Belgian households often choose contracts that are more expensive than those they currently have, as they are attracted by lower instalments. So the new test from the CREG is beneficial in many respects.

>> Read also: Energyprice.be and CREG Scan: two essential tools to help you choose the best energy contract

What to look for when doing when doing the test

CREG Scan is a very practical tool and is a valuable aid for consumers who want to compare their gas and/or electricity deal. Nevertheless, we would like to draw your attention to a few points to bear in mind:

1. The amounts displayed during this test only concern the “energy” portion of your bill.

Let’s look at a specific example. If you select the “Easy Fixed” electricity deal from ENGIE (Electrabel) (price plan for December 2019) for a residential customer in Wallonia, you get an amount of €382.

creg scan simulation avec Engie
The grey bar represents a dormant contract.

Your total electricity bill is clearly much higher than this but the comparison is only meaningful for the energy part.

The two other components of your bill involve the transmission and distribution costs and the charges and surcharges. The amounts for these two components, which you pay to your supplier, do not remain with the supplier as the supplier passes them on to the various operators (distribution and transmission) and to the State (charges and surcharges).

In addition, regardless of supplier, the amounts for these two components are identical since the transmission and distribution activities have not been liberalised. This means that the comparison made by CREG Scan only applies to the energy part of your bill, the component the consumer can influence by comparing and choosing a more competitive contract.

2. The user does not have to provide details of their electricity or gas consumption on CREG Scan.

This means, quite simply, that the tool is always based on the average Belgian consumption for a three-person household, in other words 3,500 kWh for electricity (single-rate electricity meter) and 23,260 kWh for gas. Even though these consumption figures are not representative for smaller households, larger families or people with another type of meter (dual-rate meter or night-only meter), CREG Scan gives a fairly broad and representative idea for the entire Belgian population. However, you can contact us on 0800 37 369 if you want to receive a more accurate estimate of how competitive your current contract is.

3. It is possible to launch CREG Scan without filling in all the fields.

If the user fills in just the first four fields, they will receive a result containing all the price plans for the selected supplier, as shown in the image below.

creg scan simulation avec Engie sans produit précis

4. CREG Scan covers all gas and electricity products whose contracts are still current.

This includes active and dormant products that are or were available for all consumers, including residential customers and the self-employed and SMEs. This test does not therefore include the products offered in connection with energy group purchases or those from cooperative companies, such as Energie 2030 (for which you need to purchase a share before you can access the offer).

5. It is not possible to do a search for gas and electricity at the same time.

The user has to do two searches, one after the other.

6. Finding the name of your energy contract is not always straightforward.

As a rule, when you sign a contract with a supplier, they give you a rate sheet or a rate card that shows the name of your product. If you are unable to find the name of your electricity and/or gas product, you can contact one of the Energyprice.be advisers on 0800 37 369.

7. As with your contract name, the date on which you signed up with your current supplier is not always easy to find.

For example, if you signed up at the end of a month, your contract may have started the following month. Once again, our comparison site advisers are here to help you with your searches.

8. CREG Scan is intended only for individuals and self-employed people/SMEs whose consumption does not exceed 50,000 kWh for electricity and 100,000 kWh for gas.

If your consumption is higher than this, you can contact our business to business renegotiation service (B2B) on 04/242.47.67.

In view of the above information, price-conscious consumers should proceed in two stages.

  • First, use CREG Scan to assess the competitiveness of your gas and/or electricity deal.
  • Second, and equally important, use a CREG-certified price comparison site to do a more detailed and more personalised comparison with a view to possibly changing supplier.
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Points to note from using this tool

CREG Scan offers a number of benefits and allows Belgian households to compare their current deal, whether dormant or active, with the deals currently available on the Belgian market. It’s easy to use, and it takes just a few minutes for the user to find out whether their deal is still competitive.

However, CREG Scan does have a few limitations, particularly concerning the consumption figures used for the comparison (those for an average three-person Belgian household). So it is essential for anyone using this test to visit an online comparison site as a second stage. The comparison site will provide the user with a personalised offer, based on actual consumption data, and, above all, will allow them to switch supplier in a matter of minutes.

Compare now all energy suppliers active in Belgium and save money on your bill ! Clients save an average of € 275 thanks to Energyprice.be. Have a look on your savings

Source

CREG press release, “CREG Scan: reactivate a dormant contract in 6 clicks”, PDF.

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