Despite all your efforts to reduce your energy consumption, have your gas and electricity bills have risen significantly in recent months and the adjustment bill looks set to be hefty? It may be little consolation, but remember that it's not just you! Gas and electricity prices have soared around the world.
If you have opted for a variable contract with your energy supplier, this increase will affect you directly. If you have opted for a fixed contract, the good news is that the price per kWh remains the same for the duration of your contract.
Like all markets, the wholesale electricity and gas market is governed by the law of supply and demand.
However, in the spring of 2020, demand fell sharply as a result of the lockdowns and the shutdown of many industries. Energy tariffs were then at an all-time low.
But a few months later, at the start of the school year in September, demand soared, causing a sudden hike in gas and electricity prices.
Evolution of the annual gas bill in Belgium between February 2020 and February 2021 (Source : www.comparateur-energie.be)
In addition to the pandemic, other geo-political parameters come into play. Fierce competition is raging between different economic powers for the control of energy reserves, especially gas.
Demand is also coming from the world's most energy-intensive countries, particularly in Asia, which is driving up prices, and this is being felt here.
Finally, coal, a fossil fuel that will soon be phased out, is readily replaced by... gas. This transition also increases the price of gas.
In terms of electricity, there has also been low wind generation in recent months due to weather conditions, maintenance work at power stations and an increase in electricity generation from gas and coal.
For gas, Brussels households with a variable price contract experienced an increase of €379 (+48%) between August 2020 and February 2021.
For electricity, the increase amounts to €121 more on their annual electricity bill (+17%).
Unfortunately, it will take some time for energy prices to return to their pre-COVID level. Some say 2024.
However, according to the CREG's price director: “The drop in energy prices could begin in the spring of 2022 and start to be felt by the summer.”
First and foremost: insulate! A poorly insulated house consumes much more heating energy. See our insulation folder for all our advice on this subject.
Another critical point: adjusting your boiler, thermostat and radiators. Optimising your heating controls can significantly reduce your consumption.
For even more ideas and tips, see our file "For an energy-efficient home".
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