June 24, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Staggering increase: nearly 30,000 households pay only real energy consumption per month.  What are the advantages?  |  internal

Staggering increase: nearly 30,000 households pay only real energy consumption per month. What are the advantages? | internal

There is no upfront billing or annual settlement. You receive a bill each month for what you actually used in electricity and gas during that time. More and more Flemish families are choosing the “monthly billing” system. How, exactly, does this work? What are the advantages? Should my supplier offer it? It appears to have been “done with very high developments”. Although there is also a downside.

Exactly 29,063 Flemish families in January chose the so-called monthly billing for their electricity bill. This is almost eight (!) times more than it was six months ago, in August last year. For natural gas, there are now 16,094 deliveries, compared to barely 114 monthly bills for natural gas six months ago.

The concept of monthly billing has been around for some time, but since April 1 last year energy suppliers with more than 200,000 customers in Flanders have been obliged to offer it to their customers. In practice, these are the five largest players on the market: Engie, Luminus, Eneco, TotalEnergies and Mega. Despite that commitment, not all suppliers have actively offered the option in recent months—TotalEnergies was fined at the end of last year for not providing monthly billing. However, the Flemish energy regulator VREG has seen an impressive increase in the number of families opting for this concept in recent months.

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Like a phone bill

With the monthly billing system, you no longer pay your energy bill via pre-billing, but calculate exactly what you used each month. Like the phone bill you pay for, the minutes you call, the text messages you send, or the volume you browse. The condition – in addition to the fact that you must currently be a customer of one of the five major suppliers in Flanders – is to have a digital meter. Currently, about a third of all families in Flanders have such a digital counter. By 2025, that should be eight in ten families.


The big advantage of monthly billing is that you pay exactly for what you use

Flemish Member of Parliament Ruprecht Bothuen (CD&V)

If you wish to pay for your consumption on a monthly basis, you must indicate to Fluvius that your monthly consumption data can be shared with the energy supplier. Then, it is initially enough to instruct the energy supplier to issue a monthly bill. He will stop the advances and settle them in full on the last statement, after which he will start the monthly statement. Those looking for a monthly billed power contract can also find this on V-test, VREG’s comparison tool. On the results page, you can choose through the Invoices filter to see only the prices that can be paid by monthly settlement of your actual consumption.

play to the bank

“The big advantage of a monthly bill is that you pay exactly for what you use,” says Ruprecht Bothwein, a Flemish MP for CD&V, who asked for the numbers via a parliamentary question to relevant Energy Minister Zohal Demir (N-VA). ). “You prevent an unexpected final bill covering a full year. That way, customers no longer have to play bank to energy suppliers.”

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In the winter you will incur higher bills than in the summer. Not every family will be able to handle that

Federal Energy Ombudsman Eric Houtman

Bothuen put the monthly billing system on the table at the end of 2021 after the bankruptcy of the Flemish energy supplier. “Because you’re no longer paying up front, you also don’t risk losing advances paid if your energy supplier goes bankrupt,” he explains. This is why Bothwin is now also advocating expanding the system to all suppliers, including small ones. Something that would also be effective is in the making. Energy Minister Demir (N-VA) promised to make this mandatory starting this fall. In this way, every Flemish person will soon be able to say goodbye to excessive advances with every energy resource and switch to a monthly settlement,” says Bothuen.


However, it is important for customers to think carefully before switching. Experts warn that there is also a downside to the coin. “With an advance bill, costs are spread evenly over the entire year,” Federal Ombudsman Eric Houtman said earlier. “The downside to paying real costs is that you will be billed higher in the winter than in the summer, because depreciation is higher. Not every family will be able to handle that,” Hottmann says. At the same time, the advantage is that those who make the effort to save Those who use energy sparingly are immediately rewarded, says Bothwin, who proposes a large-scale campaign to make this billing method better known.

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