Since the liberalisation of the energy market in 2007, the number of players needed for its proper functioning has increased in Belgium. Regulators are included in this number. But who are they, how are they spread across our territory and above all, what is their role?
As the name suggests, the purpose of an energy regulator is to regulate the energy sector. In other words, its primary objective is to ensure its proper functioning. But that’s not all! Consumers beneﬁt from their presence as they also act as a mediator. In fact, the second task of energy regulators is to defend consumers’ rights on a daily basis.
In Belgium, there are four energy regulators, one at federal level and three at regional level:
Overall, these four bodies all have the same role to play in the territory allocated to them, with the diﬀerence that CREG has the authority to decide on certain actions and choices made by regional regulators.
CREG (Gas and Electricity Regulatory Commission) is the federal energy regulator. On a daily basis, its main tasks are to:
But CREG does much more on a daily basis! For example, every three months it approves the implementation of the new social tariﬀ that all energy suppliers will have to implement. This is a reduced tariﬀ aimed at certain categories of persons and households.
All of CREG’s competencies are established by Belgian law. Its budget is covered by federal contributions. These cannot exceed the initial budget set by the House of Representatives.
The CWaPE (Walloon Commission for Energy) is an independent body of the Region and the Government. It has two main tasks every day:
As part of its second task, the CWaPE approves the distribution tariﬀs set up by the Walloon DSOs (Ores, Resa, REW, AIESH, AIEG), ensures the proper functioning of networks, resolves conﬂicts and, through its regional mediation service, manages complaints from consumers dissatisﬁed with their DSO or energy supplier.
Whether it is to ﬁle a complaint, learn about the energy market or for any other subject, CWaPE has a variety of means of contact:
For all other questions, you can contact CWaPE on 081 33 08 10 from 9 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 4.30 pm (except Friday, until 4 pm).
Brugel is an independent body of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region and is made up of a board of directors and a team of advisers. Since 2017, the regulator has seen its responsibilities increase and now carries out tasks in the water sector, in addition to those in the electricity and natural gas markets.
Brugel’s three main tasks in this new sector are:
As regards electricity and gas, Brugel’s tasks are similar to those of other energy regulators in Belgium. On a daily basis, it therefore ensures the eﬃciency, reliability and accessibility of the distribution network for all producers and consumers. It also provides advice to the Government and the Brussels Parliament and ensures the proper functioning of the market as a whole.
VREG is present throughout the Flemish territory in order to ensure the proper functioning of the electricity and gas network, give advice to public authorities such as the Government and the Flemish Parliament and manage any conﬂicts between the various market players (consumers, suppliers, DSOs).
In addition to this, the Flemish energy regulator grants licenses to grid operators and suppliers who wish to supply consumers and issues certiﬁcates of guarantee of origin to producers of renewable energy.
Producers, as their name suggests, produce energy so that we can use it. However in Belgium, we only produce electricity since the country does not have any gas resources. To obtain it, we are therefore obliged to draw on the resources of neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands.
In 2020, Elia’s annual report on the energy mix in Belgium showed that the electricity produced in Belgium was mainly produced from nuclear followed by wind and solar energy. However, renewable energy accounts for more and more of the total production of electricity in Belgium. In fact, wind and solar energy represented 19% of the energy mix in 2020 compared to 14% in 2019. This can be explained in particular by the signiﬁcant development of oﬀshore wind turbines (at sea) in our territory.
TSOs allow electricity and gas to be transmitted from their point of production to their distribution network. Electricity is then transmitted via very high voltage lines while gas is transported under high pressure.
In Belgium, there are only two TSOs:
Unlike transmission system operators, DSOs are distributed by region and not by energy. In Belgium, there are seven, of which ﬁve are just for Wallonia. Their main role is to deliver electricity and gas from their distribution network to the point of consumption (home, building, business, etc.).
In addition, they are usually responsible for electricity and gas connections, meter readings, setting up budget meters, but also power outages and suspected gas leaks. In certain speciﬁc cases, the DSO can even become a social supplier when, for example, a consumer is in dispute with their supplier.
Your supplier is your main contact in the energy sector since it is the one that sells you electricity and gas. Sometimes the supplier may also be an energy producer, but that is not its main task.
The supplier is the only player in the sector that sets the energy prices you pay every month. In fact, this is the only part of your bill that is subject to competition. It is therefore worth comparing them regularly to always beneﬁt from the best rate.