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How is electricity consumption calculated

Your annual electricity consumption is measured directly on the meter. This counts the number of kilowatt hours (one of the units used to measure energy) delivered to you.

Each time your meter is read, the difference between the reading displayed by the meter and that of the previous year is calculated. The result gives your annual consumption.

Different types of meter

There are three types of meter:

  • the single rate meter: the rate is the same at peak and off-peak hours. This meter usually has just one counter. N.B.: a dual display meter can be set to the single rate!
  • the dual hourly rate meter: two different reading display the quantities of electricity used during peak hours and off-peaks hours separately.  This results in billing at different prices, the “off-peak rate” being lower.
  • the night-only rate meter: this is a separate meter from the main meter (single or dual hourly rate), which is intended for electrical storage installations.

Example with a single-rate meter:

Electricity meter reading
January 2017: 6 234
January 2018: 9 686

Annual consumption: 9,686 – 6,234 = 3,452 kWh

Statement for private generators

Electricity fees

If you generate renewable energy in Brussels (by means of photovoltaic panels, for instance), you have a bidirectional electronic meter known as an “A+/A- meter”. This meter can be used to display the following information, among other things:

  • the quantity of electricity from the network that you have used
  • the quantity of surplus electricity that you have generated and reinjected into the network. This energy is deducted from your bill and you are paid the same amount for it as the price that you pay when you buy electricity.

Thanks to this system of crediting and debiting, your supplier bills you directly and only for the difference between the kilowatt hours you have received and those you have generated.
Moreover, your installation is fitted with a second, small meter known as a “Brugel meter”, which displays the total quantity of green electricity generated. It serves a twofold purpose: It is used not only to establish the output of your installation, but also to determine the number of green certificates you are entitled to.

How does an electricity meter work?

Most homes in Brussels are fitted with an “electromechanical” model (with a small disk that can be seen and that turns). If works like a small motor: passing through two coils, the current turns a permanent magnet attached to a wheel. This drives a toothed counting mechanism. The more current goes through the coils, the faster the mechanism turns and the more consumption the meter records.

Although it is sturdy and long-lasting, this type of meter will one day be replaced by an electronic model that does not include any moving parts.

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