In 2020, the rates per kWh for gas and electricity collapsed as they were unable to withstand the health crisis. But now, in early 2021, things have taken a different turn, and this could seriously affect your wallet. Energyprice.be takes stock of the past six months.

Key information:

  • + €382 on the average annual gas bill (variation over six months)
  • + €94 on the average annual electricity bill (variation over six months)

The rise and fall of energy prices are sometimes a bit like a roller coaster. There are nerve-racking climbs, then dizzying descents, and little jolts from one peak to the next. Between April and September 2020, if you remember, we experienced one of these sharp falls. It was all over the media: electricity and (in particular) natural gas prices had reached new lows. The cause was clearly attributable to the Covid-19 health crisis, but not only that. The mild temperatures over two successive winters combined with sunshine and favourable winds also played a role.

However, the situation does not seem as rosy for our wallets at the start of 2021. Since the end of 2020, gas prices have risen again, and electricity prices have kept pace. How will this inflation affect your finances? What can you do to minimize the effects? To help you take stock, Energyprice.be has analysed the changes in energy prices over the past six months.

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The gas price: annual bills up by an extra €382 on average

gas price

Between the end of August 2020 and the end of February 2021, natural gas prices rose by an average of 46% in Belgium*. This meant that the average annual gas bill in Belgium increased from €825 to €1,207.

Evolution of gas bill in Belgium between Feb 2020 and Feb 2021

In addition, when we look at the breakdown by Region, we can see that the proportions are fairly similar, ranging between 40% and 54%:

  • In Wallonia, the average annual bill leapt by €387 (+40%), rising from €970 to €1,358 in six months:
  • Meanwhile, households in Brussels saw an increase of €379 (+48%), with annual bills rising from €798 to €1,177 over the same period;
  • And, in Flanders, it was the same situation, with a rise of €380 (+54%) on annual residential bills, which have now topped the €1,000 mark (€1,085), whereas they were only €749 last August.

Despite this alarming increase over the past six months, it is important to put these events into context. Natural gas prices had already fallen significantly in 2019, and this fall only worsened in 2020. So, today’s prices are simply a return to the levels before the health crisis. As proof, compared with February 2020, the gas price has only increased by 15% (in other words, €157). This change over 12 months is still significant, but it is also much less than the change over six months.

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The electricity price: your annual bill is €94 higher

electricity price

After the huge variation in the gas price, this “small” rise in the electricity price is almost a breath of fresh air. Belgian households are seeing only a 12%* rise in their annual electricity bills, with the average bill rising from €814 to €908 between the end of August 2020 and the end of February 2021.

Changes in the annual electricity bill in Belgium between February 2020 and February 2021.

If we examine the breakdown by Region, we soon realize that it is in Brussels and Wallonia that the increase is most noticeable:

  • Walloon households have seen their annual bills increase by €103 (12%), rising from €871 to €974;
  • In Brussels, households have experienced an even larger increase, with an extra €121 on their annual electricity bill (+17%), taking it to €828 at the end of February 2021, whereas it was only €707 at the end of August last year;
  • Flemish households have come off best, with an annual bill that has increased by only €58 (+7%), rising from €863 to €921 in six months.

As you will see, the electricity market is currently more stable than the gas market. If you look at the change over a year (compared with February 2020), the average annual bill in Belgium has even seen a slight fall of -0.46%. Households in Brussels, in particular, can feel reassured. Even though their prices have seen the strongest inflation in absolute value and in percentage terms, their annual bills remain lower than those of their fellow countrymen in Wallonia and Flanders.

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Will prices continue to rise?

The big question now is whether this rise will be maintained, and, if so, for how long. That will depend on a number of factors, and there appears to be no clear trend for the time being.

For gas, it might be assumed that the cold spell this year will have affected our consumption in terms of heating. As a result, it would not be surprising if prices stayed at a fairly high level for a while. However, there is no guarantee that this will still be the case in a few months.

>> Further reading: Has your energy consumption increased abnormally this winter? Here are the reasons.

For electricity, the role of renewable energies is becoming increasingly important. But, given that they rely on the weather conditions, trying to predict trends accurately would be pointless, especially since, in Belgium, the phasing-out of nuclear is bound to have an effect on electricity prices in the long term.

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Combating prices increases: compare and switch contract!

Compare your energy contracts

Whether prices are rising or falling, one thing is certain: the only way to pay less for your energy over time is to compare your gas and electricity rates regularly. This is especially true if you have not switched contract for several years, as energy contracts that are more than a year old are sometimes renewed under unfavourable terms (see our article on dormant contracts). However, in the current climate, it is best to avoid paying more than the market average!

Fortunately, today, it is very easy to check your prices and switch contract.

  • Firstly, visit CREG Scan, the federal regulator’s tool, to check whether your contract is more expensive than the market average.
  • Next, use a certified price comparison site, such as Energyprice.be., to find another, more favourable contract and sign up instantly online. The good thing about our comparison tool is that it also includes the promotions offered by the different energy suppliers.
  • Finally, get into the habit of checking your rates once a year. Remember that you can change contract whenever you like, without a cancellation fee, regardless of the duration of the initial contract.

Act now to limit the effects of the price rises on your energy bill, and find a new, cheaper contract!

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

*Based on the following standard consumptions:
  • Gas: average consumption of 23,260 kWh per year (residential – T2 client type)
  • Electricity: average consumption of 3,500 kWh (residential – Dc client type), single-rate tariff
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