February 28, 2024

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Why energy sharing isn't taking off: 'Suppliers have commercial freedom to charge additional costs' |  My guide

Why energy sharing isn't taking off: 'Suppliers have commercial freedom to charge additional costs' | My guide

Mining energyExperts consider it an important part of our energy future, but energy sharing is still barely taking off. In theory, both participant and recipient will gain a financial benefit from trading surplus power with each other. In practice, this is disappointing, as we know Mijnenergie.be. With two of the five largest energy suppliers, you're clearly better off just pumping electricity into the grid.

Written by Kurt Deman and Lisa Myers in collaboration with Mijnenergie

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Share with yourself and others

Since spring 2022, you can donate or resell solar energy in Flanders that you do not use yourself. You share this power, for example, between your different properties, within energy communities and with residents of the same apartment building. Additionally, it is possible to sell the electricity generated by your solar panels to neighbors, family, friends, or anyone else who shows an interest. These parties mutually agree on a price that ideally benefits everyone.

Do not be surprised: This changed on January 1 in the energy area.

Often times it is not a win-win situation

Therefore, it is a matter of setting a higher price for the subscriber than the injection rate that he will receive for the excess electricity that he puts on the electricity grid. The recipient then hopes to pay less than their energy supplier's consumption rate. When the agreed upon price satisfies both desires, a win-win situation is created.

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Overview of each resource
Mijnenergie.be has calculated the price range for each energy operator to meet this ideal scenario. The price comparator assumed combined electricity of 2,000 kilowatt-hours per year, at current variable energy prices. In this case, it was not possible to reach a win-win situation for five of the thirteen energy suppliers. In two other cases, the price range looked weak at just €50. You can find the full account here.

Costs up to 150 euros

It is no coincidence that the seven energy suppliers bear high costs in exchange for energy sharing. Luminus and Frank Energie take the cake at a cost of €150 for both participant and recipient. N-VA and CD&V have previously described these costs as a form of sabotage.

The energy suppliers association FEBEG considers the costs justified. “The costs and benefits are not distributed equally. The system also needs to grow in terms of the market and administrative processes. Until there are more structural solutions, suppliers have the right to bear the costs. These costs are general and are an element that can “Buyers should take this into account when choosing a supplier in a free and competitive market.”

Don't pay too much for electricity and/or gas: You can quickly and easily find your cheapest contract via the Mijnenergie.be comparison tool.

“Free market plays”

The Flemish energy regulator VREG has indicated that it will not intervene itself. “Suppliers have the commercial freedom to impose additional costs or conditions: these are free market forces at play,” explains company spokeswoman Monique Schilstreit.

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In addition to high costs, there are other factors hindering the growth of energy sharing. As a recipient, you must consume the shared power within fifteen minutes. If not, it simply leaves the power grid. In addition, the initiation of energy sharing between consumers does not always go smoothly. The Federal Energy Ombudsman received fifty complaints on this topic in the first nine months of 2023.

The most popular among private access points

The combination of these different elements is also reflected in the number of projects implemented. At the beginning of December, Fluvius recorded 1,238 projects involving in-person sales. The most common form of power sharing is between access points of the same owner. In this case, for example, it is a matter of sharing energy between the main residence and the second residence.

Read more on Mijnenergie.be:

Gas and electricity from the same supplier: is it cheaper?

Energy consumption is at its lowest level in a quarter of a century

Complaints are pouring in to the Energy Ombudsman: We have frustrations about this

This article is brought to you by our partner Mijnenergie.be.
Mijnenergie.be is an independent energy price comparison site for electricity and gas offers.