Consumer is not a banker for energy suppliers, says Belgian State Secretary
State Secretary for Consumer Protection Eva De Bleeker (Open VLD) wants energy bills to be reduced even if prices on the markets remain low. "If the market prices drop significantly, that means that the prices are lower for the suppliers. It cannot be that the consumer is playing a banker for energy suppliers," she said on Belgian Radio 1 this Saturday 22 October.
In recent months, gas and electricity prices have been swinging, with record after record. More and more people saw their bills rise enormously, by hundreds of euros and more. However, the price of gas on the market has fallen sharply in the past two months.
De Bleeker wants it to be felt more quickly in the advance invoices.
"These advances must match as closely as possible what will have to be paid together throughout the year. (...)It cannot be that the consumer pays too much and thus plays a banker for the supplier," she remarked.
Moreover, Belgium is unlikely to experience power outages this winter, the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSOE-E) has reported. In its annual status report on the security of Europe's winter energy supply, released much earlier than usual this year, owing to the urgency of Europe's energy crisis, ENTSOE-E noted that even larger-than-expected problems with French or German energy supply would be unlikely to cause Belgium to experience winter blackouts.
In terms of its energy security, Belgium has a number of advantages over its immediate neighbours. Unlike the Netherlands or Germany, the country has never been seriously dependent on Russian oil or gas.
Belgium benefits from a direct supply of gas via pipeline from Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as an LNG terminal in Zeebrugge that can import gas from around the world.
In its report, ENTSOE-E stressed that Belgium could reduce the risk of blackouts to near-negligible levels if its citizens made a concerted effort to reduce their energy consumption. Current EU guidelines recommend that Europeans reduce their electricity consumption by 5% at peak times, and by as much as 10% at others.
© BELGA PHOTO ( ERIC LALMAND)