Are you taking away in a new home and have to choose an electric meter type? Or would you like to replace your current counter? An explanation of how everyone works is therefore necessary!


Simple meter, bi-hour, exclusive night, budget or intelligent: there are many types of electrical meters in Belgium. Each has its own advantages and inconveyors, and it is extremely useful for a consumer to know them. Indeed, it could be confronted with the choice of a counter to be installed when connecting home to the electrical network, or during a renovation if the one in place does not suit it. This is also true without a partial opportunity, since everyone is free to change their energy meter when they wish. All you have to do is pay the fee from its Distribution Network Manager (RDG).

However, before choosing another model, you need to know what type of device to claim. For here no chance: taking into account the characteristics of each counter is paramount as this will influence the way of consuming and determine the price of kWh invoiced. Discover the five types of meters you can install.

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What is an electric meter and how did it work?

An electric meter, also called an electrical meter, is a tool that allows you to measure energy consumption of your household or house. It records every kilowatt hour you consume.

Your electricity meter provides important information: your consumption index. Your power provider will need it to determine your power bill

However, this is the distribution network manager role (find your GRD) to insure the energy meter recovery, as well as its maintenance. Next, it sends the information related to your energy consumption to your electricity provider to establish:

  • your gularization invoice (corresponding to the difference between your actual usage and the one your supplier estimated to have deposited);
  • and your future installmentbills (i.e. monthly bills, based on an estimate of your future usage).

The measurement unit of this electrical meter is the kilowatt-hour (kWh). This is the energy consumed by a device with a power of 1,000 watts for one hour.

>> Read also: What to do in case of erroneous index statement?

EAN code, counter number: not to be confused

Many consumers confuse EAN code with meter number. But what is their difference?

  • The EAN code is an 18 digit length that always starts with 54 in Belgium. It allows you to identify your consumption point. It is connected to your address and not to your meter. You will find it managed on your energy contract. The EAN code is requested, for example, in case of development;
  • The meter number identifies your counter. It is numbered 8 digits that you will find on the device directly. Thanks to him, your GRD will not be able to make a mistake when you index score.

>> Read also: What is the EAN code?

Single-hour counter: a unique price

You have a single-hour counter if there is only one available index on the counter. The Electricity kWh price is the same during the day and at night. Then we talk about normal or simple rates.

From a financial point of view, is the single-hour counter more advantageous than bi-hours? Everything depends on your consumption habits. The single rate is more integrated than the two-hour day rate, but higher than the night rate. In addition, one advises administratively the simple counter to people with solar panels that produce enough than to cover their consumption. Indeed, it will cost them less in fixed costs than the two-hour one.

The bi-hour counter (full hours VS hours digged): ideal for night consumption

The two-hour counter is, as for it, composed of two indexs : a day index (corresponds to full hours) and a night index (corresponds to low hours). Consumption in hollow hours is less accurate than in full hours.

The full hours/hollow hours are defined by your network manager. But during the week, the first one always talented for 15 hours, compared to 9 for the seconds.

In general terms, a consumption from Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 22:00 will be charged on the part of the day while the consumption from 22:00 to 07:00 in the morning during the week and the total consumption of the weekend will be charged on the night part.

Clock with moving needles
The two-hour counter has as its characteristic the distinction between full and hollow hours.

This means that day/night allowance is beneficial to people who consume most of the electricity during the night and the weekend. In order to do this, care must be taken to activate during these times its appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher and boil. It is necessary to ensure that the power of the electrical meter is high enough to allow the simultaneous use of several devices.

Geographically, it is accepted that switching to a double meter is profitable as consumption during low hours is higher than half of total consumption. If this is not the case, it is probably better to keep a simple meter.

Exclusive night meter: heated

Exclusive Night Meter only works in night period for water heater and/or electric heating build-up. If power can be used during the day, wait at night for the device to get back on its way. In other words, it is better not to fall short of hot water in the morning!

As with the bi-hour, it is necessary to contact your GRD to know the times of the night period. On the other hand, the difference of this one, weekends are not allowed as hollow hours.

From a more technical point of view, you should be aware that the exclusive night counter is never placed alone. It must therefore be coupled to a one-time or two-hour counter.

In addition, the price of the kWh is the same as the two-hour night rate. The gain is in fact at the distribution rates. Less high, they make this electric meter a more integrated alternative to the two-hour hollow hour system. However, due to the lower savings it allows to achieve compared to the past, the exclusive night is today a disappearing option.

Budget meter: prepaid energy

Budget counter with recharge card

The budget counter, which is not available in Brussels, has the same finality as the traditional meters: measuring electricity or gas consumption. By contrast, it also has a prepayment feature that allows the user to consume power only at the height of the amount charged on a smart card not located in the meter reader. Once the customer exhausts his balance, he has to reload his card, otherwise they will be able to suffer a power outage after using the backup creed they are entitled to.

Know that customers are protected, that is those who behave in the social price, will be entitled to a minimum electric supply of 10 amperes for three months if they do not replenish their card.

Advised and sometimes imposed on customers in default payment, the budget meter offers a better budget range, since the customer pays for his consumption in advance. In addition, it keeps the free choice of its supplier. Another advantage is that this type of meter does not change the use of household appliances or the power available.

Likewise for the price of the kWh : it continues to be the same as indicated in the customer’s supply contract. Except for protected customers who will be provided at applicable social rates.

Finally, it is worth noting thata budget counter can also have the function bi-hour.

Smart counter: transition to number and double flow option for solar panel holders

The company has developed, and the climate priorities as well. To ensure an effective transition to renewable energy, we need to adapt all our consumption habits. In this context, communicating counters, also called smart counters, are experiencing a great utility.

Its first advantage is to automatically send index statements to your network manager. You no longer need to raise your meter for re-calibration, you can automate this process!

Next, they could also help optimize our electricity consumption by telling us the hollow moments of use of the network. This could make it possible to do without the two-hour meter principle in the future, as it would become obsolete.

Finally, this counter will allow the solar panel owners to know exactly the amount of electricity they have shown and the amount they injected on the network. It is said then that it is a double flow counter. This is all the more useful, now that the counter system that turns upside down is pulling its wake.

Note that, at the moment, none of the three Regions has planned a massive deployment for this type of counter. Only metrics that explicitly request it or need to replace a defective meter are currently equipped.

The price of an electric meter

Energy counter index with euro notes

Choosing a counter and having one installed for the first time is unfortunately not free. The same applies to the replacement of its electric counter or gas. By advisory, before charging a day/night rate, for example, It is essential to find out about the GRD on the part of the installation of a two-hour meter.

For information, for delivery, the installation andopening of a new electrical counter with negative power at 25 kVa, Sibelga claims 71 euros HVAT. As for the replacement of a regular meter, the Brussels GRD charges it on average between 250 and 400€.

For a budget meter, ORES announces its maximum share of 500 euros. But be careful: these prices apply when the customer wishes to change. If, on the other hand, it was the supplier who requested the installation of a budget meter, the customer will have to pay 100 euros this time. Better still, he will not have to swap anything in the case where he enjoys protected customer status.

The rest of the time? If the gas or electricity meter becomes obsolete, GRD has an equal obligation to replace it for free ! Likewise, the customer will not have to pay for the change of a defective device.


Choosing an electric meter depends solely on your preferences and lifestyle habits. A person who lives alone and consumes little can be satisfied with a simple meter. A metering that consumes mainly electricity in the evening has everything to choose a two-hour meter. Distraits will be able to prefer the smart counter and its automatic index statement function. What type of meter is best for you?

Now that you know your meter type, take advantage of this to compare the prices charged by your energy provider and to switch directly from a supplier through our energy comparator or by calling 0800 37 369.

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