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How do I read my energy bill?

Your annual gas and electricity statement consists of three main parts. Each one corresponds to the missions and costs incurred by a party in the energy supply chain:

  • the supplier you have chosen to provide you with energy;
  • the operators of the transmission and distribution networks who carry this energy to your home;
  • the (federal and regional) public authorities, who apply various surcharges and contributions in the interests of their social and environmental energy policy.

Your bill also includes various details such as the delivery address for the energy, the type of contract you have signed, the total of the monthly advance payments made and the outstanding balance, the new monthly advance payment for the next eleven months, etc.

You pay for the energy and all that goes with it

The total amount on your energy bill includes:

  • the energy used;
  • all infrastructure and services that have made it possible to carry the energy from the production sites to your home;
  • charges, taxes and fees due to the various public authorities (Federal States, Brussels-Capital Region, communes).

All these amounts can therefore be divided into three main items:

Energy (or “Consumption”)

This is the only item that varies depending on the supplier you choose. The actual energy costs account for about 40 %* of your electricity bill and 54 %* of your gas bill and consist of:

  • the fixed fee (or 'subscription costs') included in your contract with your supplier.
  • your actual consumption, expressed in kilowatt hours and in euros. If you benefit from the dual hourly rate or the night-only rate, the two consumption levels are indicated separately.
  • the green energy costs (or 'green energy contribution') imposed by the government on your supplier to provide financial support for green electricity producers. Your supplier passes these costs on in your bill.
  • any discounts you may benefit from, for instance if you pay by direct debit.

Network costs (or 'Distribution and transport')

These are the costs involved in carrying the energy from the production site to your home. This item accounts for about 36 %* of your electricity bill and 26 %* of your gas bill and consists of:

  • the distribution costs (31%): the amount you pay indirectly to Sibelga for the use of their electricity cables and gas pipelines. The Sibelga rates mainly cover:
    • its network operation activities and its public service obligations (i.e. public lighting and protected customers);
    • a fee for occupation of the public domain, which Sibelga transfers in full to the communes of Brussels. This is a fee for the use of the public highways.
  • the transport costs (5%): the amount you pay indirectly to Elia for the use of their high-voltage electricity transmission network. N.B.: for gas, the costs of the high-pressure transmission system operator, Fluxys, are not given here, but are included in the price of the energy (item 1).

Surcharges (or 'federal and regional levies’)

These are the taxes levied by the federal government and the Brussels-Capital Region on consumers. These costs account for 20 %* of your annual statement for gas and 24 %* for electricity and consist of:

  • the energy contribution, which is intended for the fund to ensure the financial balance of the social security system;
  • the federal contribution, which funds various policies or bodies active in the field of energy, including:
    • the operating costs of the CREG;
    • the policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Kyoto contribution);
    • the decommissioning of the nuclear installations at the Mol-Dessel study centre (denuclearisation);
    • the special social rate for customers in difficulty;
  • the 'public service obligations' (5% for electricity and 1%  for gas) contribution, which is used among other things to finance the grants given by the Brussels-Capital Region.

* from CREG study 110922 CDC 1096

Fixed or variable costs?

The energy costs fluctuate according to:

  • the rates set by the supplier;
  • the quantity of energy that you have used.

This is therefore the only item for which you can choose the rates. You can compare the offers made by the suppliers with one another on the Brugel website and opt for the most economical.

The costs for the networks, taxes and fees vary on the basis of:

  • the rates for the use of the network, which are set every four years by the regional regulators (Brugel for the Brussels-Capital Region);
  • the amount of the taxes and fees set by the federal government and the Brussels-Capital Region;
  • the capacity of your meter and the quantity of energy used.

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