During the winter, your energy provider may, in some cases, suspend your electricity or gas contract. Winter does not therefore apply to all consumers. What about you? What does the law say? Are there specific circumstances due to coronavirus?

Is there a winter treve in Belgium? It has to be said that finding oneself without electricity and without natural gas is a treasured situation, especially when the templates are lowest. Yet it is the threat hanging over more and more Belgian people because of their difficulties in meeting their energy bills.

At the end of 2021, things are even more complex due to the COVID-19 health crisis. To get through, one solution is consume less gas or electricity, but this is not a tenable solution if you want to maintain a decent standard of living.

What does the law say in Belgium? Do suppliers have the right to cut off their customers’ electricity or gas supplies in the winter period? What are the exceptional mechanisms in place due to the health crisis? Energy Comparator takes stock of the rights and obligations of each.

Envie de plus de bons plans énergie ? Inscrivez-vous à notre newsletter ! Faites le plein de conseils pour réduire vos factures d'énergie.
Je m'inscris Nos meilleurs conseils tous les mois !

What is a winter treasure?

A broad winter treve is a period during which it is forbidden to evict a tenant who does not pay his rents. While the French law provides for one, it is not the same for the Belgian law. Indeed, our country allows public sector evictions and deprived at any time of the year. In order for it to be valid, however, it is necessary to have a judgment and to give the person one month to leave the place.

There is however an exception if you are occupying a social housing in Wallonia or in Brussels. In this case, you protected from any eviction during the winter.

Did you know? In the capital, a winter moratorium resulting in 2000 makes any expulsion impossible between December 1 and February 28. In Wallonia, a similar moratorium dating from 2013 prohibits such measures between 1 November and 15 March. However, the relevant building will have to accept guidance from the CPAS.

For others, who do not have social housing, there are still remedies. Indeed, the justice of the peace may decide to postpone the expulsion on the basis of the family situation, meteorological conditions or relocation possibilities.

But the winter treve does not only apply to the rental of housing, but also concerns the supply of electricity and natural gas. What happens if you are in default of payment?

In Wallonia, the winter supply contract is possible

A man ripping an energy contract

In Wallonia, if you reported as a payment default, your Distribution Network Manager (GRD) will install at home one budget counter. Warning, if you refuse to place such a counter, your energy provider can then ask your GRD to cut your power supply into electricity or gas, Winter, whether you are a protected client or not. Your supply contract will then automatically terminate. You will need to subscribe to a new auction from another provider in order to keep your meter open. In addition, the reopening fee will be at your expense.

In addition, depending on your personal situation, you will receive certain access protections during the winter season.

You have an unprotected Walloon resident client

According to an order of the Walloon Government, if your contract was terminated or expired between 1 November and 15 March, your DNM will temporarily supply you with energy during this period. It will provide you with power at the maximum prices it has set and will have CREG validate the federal power market. Warning, these prices are usually higher than the average of regular rates.

Your GRD is also required to notify you, 15 days prior to the end of the blackout period, the requirement to enter into an electrical and/or gas supply contract within 60 business days of the deadline. If you do not do so, your energy supply is suspended.

Découvrez vite les promotions spéciales des fournisseurs sur Comparateur-Énergie.be !
Je compare gratuitement Je réalise en moyenne 225€ d'économies

You have a protected customer

Recharge card from budget counter

As a protected customer, you get a budget counter. If you are in default and cannot reload your card, you are entitled to a minimum supply of electricity (power limited to 1). 00 watts), insured by your energy provider. This is valid throughout the year for six months from the start of the power limitation operation and cannot be withdrawn during the winter period.

Did you know? For information, under certain conditions, the CPAS can increase the power of the minimum supply at up to 2.600 watts. It is then required to assume half of the customer’s invoice.

For gas, if you also encounter payment difficulties during the winter period, you can ask your GRD for feeding charts and not a minimum supply. In this way, you will continue to enjoy this energy.

You were entitled to this minimum supply for six months but you did not pay the relevant invoices? In this case, your supplier informs your GRD of the situation, and you are reported as a recurring payment fault. This follows a special procedure to ensure that you are powered by your GRD. But as long as you do not match your invoices, you remain limited to the minimum guaranteed supply.

Subsequently, if you do not provide any solutions to review your situation, your GRD sends you a formal notice and, without action on your part, the Local Cut-Off Notice Board is seized of the file. Your GRD will then be able to request a power outage by invoking a manifest malwill.

Development case

As part of a decommissioning, you need to transmit your energy contract or sign up for a new one for your new address. If you don’t, we talk about problematic matters. Without a contract, you risk a cut, even in winter and even if you have a protected customer.

The situation in 2021

The health crisis pushed the Walloon Government to create a new status, that of cyclically protected customer. People who enter this category become from a supply of energy at social rate for a duration of one year. In addition, their energy contracts will be suspended during this period. As a result, the affected networks will be powered by the network managerand not by the provider. This measure should enable them to greatly allocate their bills during the crisis. Specifically, granting this status is possible until March 31, 2021.

What happens if you still cannot pay your bills, even at the social rate? If this is your case, it is very likely that you also have a budget meter. You can then warn your CPAS of the situation, and depending on the case it will intervene by activating the “power limiter” function of your meter, as described previously.

>> View all details of measurements

Want to know more about the budget meter or how to switch energy supply as part of a development? Call our advisors for free at 0800 37 369!

J'appelle un conseiller Gratuit et sans engagement

In Brussels, consumers are protected from October to March

In principle, between 1 October and 31 March, no-one living in Brussels can have their gas or electricity supply cut off. However, the justice of the peace may decide to terminate the contract that binds you to your energy provider. You will then be powered by Sibelga, the Brussels network manager, with or without power limitation (equivalent to the budget counter in Brussels-Capital area). It goes without saying that the invoices linked to this supply will be at your expense.

Once the winter period is over, you will need to find a new provider. If not, Sibelga will close your energy meters and you will have to pay a large amount (almost 100 € per meter) to reopen them.

Ignored how to choose an energy provider? Our advisors will gladly assist you by phone at 0800 37 369 or email by offering suppliers that meet your needs and expectations. for example they will be able to tell you which is the cheapest electricity and gas supplier to Brussels.

J'appelle un conseiller Gratuit et sans engagement

Particular cases and adaptations for 2021

If weather conditions are harsh, the Brussels government can extend the winter tree. This was the case in spring 2020. Given the complicated situation caused by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Brugel, the Brussels energy regulator, announced in March 2020 thatit exceptionally extended the winter period until 30 April 2020 included for Brussels consumers.

On top of that, Brugel also established in June 2020 a status of protected customers for consumers affected by the health crisis the country is experiencing.

Brugel’s publication indicates this:

“The measure allows the protected customer to be fed for one year at the social rate by the SIBELGA network manager. The end of granting status is set to 31/12/2020”

Given rising energy prices and the health crisis, the Brussels regulator would like the winter treve to continue until May 2022. [company industry]

In Flanders, an electric and gas outage can occur in winter

Residential without new energy contract

In Flanders, private customers can be deprived of natural gas and electricity between 1 December and 1 March only when the local energy commission (LEC), established in each municipality, isn’t required to give an opinion. As a result, the GRD supply stop is only allowed in the following cases:

  • Hazard Presence : If there is a risk of electrocution or fire, your meter may be closed until the time when the situation has returned to normal;
  • you committed a fraud, as your counter was tampered with, and you oppose the device’s rehabilitation;
  • extended absence : When your GRD notices twice that your home is unoccupied and you have not entered into a energy contract, it proceeds to a supply suspension.
  • problematic development : taking place in a new home requires you to enter into a supply contract or transfere the old one. If you refuse to do so and consume all the energy, you will be deprived of electricity and/or gas.

Also, when a LAC notice is required, it is forbidden to suspend the energy supply between 1 of December and 1of March. But be careful, if the cut was set up before the beginning of the winter period, it will not be forcefully cancelled after 1 December.

Finally, note that depending on the climate, the Regional Minister may adjust the start date and end date of the winter treve.

How do I challenge a power or gas outage in winter?

Have you just undergone an Electricity Discount for non-payment in winter? Do you not agree that your supplier has terminated your contract and do you find it excessive? Then contact the company in question to find an amicable settlement.

In the event that you are not satisfied with this exchange, you can enter the power metric for free. This will analyze your complaint and, if it is deemed admissible, will begin to negotiate between the company and you in order to find a satisfactory solution.

Want to know more about what happens next? Please do not join our team at 0800 37 369, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 13:30 p.m. to 17:30 p.m.

J'appelle un conseiller Gratuit et sans engagement