Taking an interest in the breakdown of your gas price is essential. Why? Because it includes the amounts that make up your bill and shows you the expensive items! The results might surprise you.
If you use natural gas for heating, cooking, or hot water, you will have signed up to a supply deal. This is a quick and simple step, but it does require you to choose between the various gas suppliers in the Belgian market.
This is often where it gets complicated, because, as well as high-quality customer service, customers are usually looking for a low price per kilowatt hour (kWh) of gas. To compare gas prices, all you need to do is visit an energy supplier comparison site. However, choosing a cheap energy deal can still lead to high bills, even with low gas consumption. Let us explain.
A bill for natural gas, the fuel that has replaced coal gas, is divided into three main sections: the gas price per kWh, the network costs, and the taxes. So, as a consumer, you pay money to several players in the gas market. The bad news is that some of these payments are imposed by the authorities.
The gas price is set by the energy supplier. This may, for example, be Engie, Luminus or Lampiris, the companies that dominate the gas market. Alongside these giants, other suppliers such as Antargaz and Mega are trying to carve out a place for themselves.
In practice, the gas price varies from one company to another, and also from one deal to another. This has been made possible as a result of the liberalization of the market in 2007.
To identify the most attractive option, both of the elements that make up the price must be taken into account:
This subtle distinction is important because the unit price per kWh could be very low but the annual fee could be high. This means that the benefits of the particular deal could disappear, depending on your gas consumption.
The second part of the gas bill relates to the system costs. First, there are the costs generated by the activities of Fluxys, the high-pressure transmission system operator (TSO). Its role includes supplying gas to industrial consumers and to the distribution system operators (DSOs), who manage the link between the Fluxys infrastructure and residential customers via low- and medium-pressure gas pipes.
Did you know? Gas transmission and distribution are not liberalized activities. Fluxys and the various DSOs have a monopoly over the territory in which they operate, in other words, all of Belgium for Fluxys, and a defined region for each DSO. This means that consumers cannot escape the prices they charge or choose a different operator in the hope of paying less.
What if you don’t know the DSO for your town or village? Use our search tool!
If you look at your bill, you will see that there are a number of different energy taxes. These include VAT, the energy contribution, and the federal contribution. There are also the surcharges levied by the Regions.
So this element of the bill is independent of the natural gas supplier. However, as the supplier is responsible for billing, it receives the sums payable and passes them on to the relevant bodies.
Your gas supplier prepares your bill based on the kilowatt-hours you have consumed. This is why the suppliers’ pricing schedules indicate gas prices per kWh. But your gas meter shows the number of cubic meters (m³) supplied. What is the reason for this difference? Does this mean it’s impossible to find out the cost of gas per m³?
The goal is for each household to pay for the energy actually received rather than a quantity of fuel. To achieve this, the calorific value of a cubic metre of natural gas needs to be expressed in kWh. So the DSOs calculate a conversion rate based on three criteria:
Once the conversion rate has been determined, it is multiplied by the volume of gas measured by your meter. To produce your bill, the supplier then multiplies this result by the gas cost per kilowatt hour indicated in your supply contract.
In Belgium, the average energy value of 1m3 of gas is 10 kWh.
If you opt for a fixed price, you can be certain that your gas cost will remain the same throughout the duration of your contract. The advantage is obvious: it provides considerable peace of mind and bills that are easier to understand.
Conversely, variable prices change regularly as the market evolves. At the moment, the suppliers use quarterly or monthly indexation.
However, gas has an advantage over electricity: natural gas rates are less volatile. So choosing a variable-price gas contract means less risk of being hit by significant price rises.
Whichever type of contract you choose, it is vital to choose your gas supplier carefully. This is not only to keep your gas costs as low as possible but also to benefit from efficient customer service.
Do you need help to find out which supplier is the best match for your criteria and your gas consumption? Please call our advisors on 0800 37 456 or contact them by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Which is the cheapest gas supplier? To find out, here are the key fixed-price deals from the five main suppliers (June 2021).
|Supplier||Name of the deal||Gas cost per kWh||Annual fee (€/year)|
|Eneco||Gas Natural Fixed||3.79||60|
|Essent||Fixed 1 year||3.47||69.95|
Finding a cheap gas supplier in Brussels is possible! All you need to do is compare gas prices. Here are the key variable-price deals from the five main suppliers.
|Supplier||Name of the deal||Gas cost per kWh||Annual fee (€/year)|
Since 2007, the energy market has been liberalized throughout Belgium. Aimed at cutting gas and electricity costs, has this process delivered on its promises? To find out, federal regulator CREG carried out a study of how the natural gas price component of consumers’ bills has changed. The study shows that, compared with 2007, the energy component of gas bills had increased by an average of 17% in August 2021.
*T2 is a domestic customer.
In terms of the distribution system price, the CREG indicates a general increase of 32.75% between 2007 and the end of 2019. This increase is due in particular to the increase in the rate of the public service obligations (OSP) and extensions to the network.
Did you know? In Wallonia and Flanders, the public service obligations help to finance the installation of budget meters and manage vulnerable customers. However, in the south of the country, the costs of these meters have soared.
More generally, across all bill items, the total gas price rose by 18.70% between January 2007 and December 2016.
It’s worth noting that, since then, gas prices fell sharply during 2020, as a result of the health crisis and two successive winters during which the weather conditions were particularly mild. However, prices have been rising again since the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, due to the return to colder temperatures.
Regardless of whether prices are falling, it’s important to compare gas prices at least once a year. Why? Because the introductory promotions for new customers are only valid for that length of time, and these discounts often mean you can obtain cheap gas and so make significant savings on your gas bill.
If you find the idea of an annual comparison off-putting, don’t worry: changing gas supplier only takes a few minutes and the new supplier will take care of the entire process for you. And it’s free!
If you still have questions and would like more advice, please contact our advisers. They can be reached on 0800 37 456 from 9.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm. They will do everything they can to put an end to your large gas bills – and that’s a promise!