Belgian government reaches agreement on new energy measures

The Belgian government agreed on a new series of energy measures on Monday. The VAT reduction on gas and electricity to 6 per cent will become permanent on 1 April. The extended social tariff will be phased out and there is an agreement on lower advance payments for energy bills.

The federal government agreed to the plans on Monday. They now have to be approved via an electronic council of ministers as soon as possible before they can move to the parliament. The government added the condition that the agreement could be re-examined in case of a violent price spike. Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem must also ensure that the reform does not impact VAT recovery for the self-employed.

The extended social rate will be gradually phased out. Around one million families - 2 million people - have benefited from it since 2021. It will be lowered to 75 per cent in the second quarter, to 25 per cent in the third quarter and removed in the last quarter.

The reference rate under social tariffs will also be adjusted from 1 April, based on a proposal from energy regulator CREG. The social tariff reform - considered too black and white for some today - will be negotiated on in March.

Finally, energy suppliers will have to adjust advances in line with falling prices. This concerns consumers who subscribed to contracts between August and November, when prices spiked enormously. Suppliers will now have to contact these customers, and those who do not comply could be fined.



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