This study looks at January 2022 prices and compares them to the prices of the previous year. It shows that the electricity bill of an average household doubled in 2022 compared to 2021, in the wake of a quadrupling of the “energy” component of the bill.
Household electricity bills have also increased significantly in most neighboring countries, but apart from the United Kingdom, the relative increase is less pronounced there than in Belgium. The electricity bill for a household with a consumption of 3,500 kWh/year amounted in January 2022 to an average of 460 euros per MWh in Belgium, which is more than in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and above all just in France. Only Germany has a similar price level.
For SMEs connected to the low voltage network, the results are relatively similar to those of households. Here too, the study notes a significant increase in the bill in Belgium, which remains one of the most expensive countries.
On the other hand, non-electro-intensive companies connected to medium or high voltage pay a slightly lower electricity bill in Belgium than in neighboring countries. With regard to electro-intensive companies, all countries, with the exception of the United Kingdom, grant reductions, but these potential reductions are greater in the Netherlands, Germany and France, notes the study.
It also discusses the prices of natural gas and notes that the bill for Belgian households has more than tripled in one year, the energy component having been multiplied by five. Belgium is now the second most expensive country for natural gas whereas last year it was still the second cheapest country. Now only the Netherlands is even more expensive due to high taxes.
Belgium remains one of the least expensive countries in terms of gas bills for small and large companies. For SMEs, Brussels and Flanders are even cheaper than all other regions.
“Compared to the average of the total gas and electricity bill paid by their competitors in the four neighboring countries, both electro-intensive and non-electro-intensive Belgian companies enjoy a competitive advantage. This advantage is greater in Flanders than in Brussels and Wallonia, but these last two regions are experiencing an improvement compared to the previous year, where electro-intensive companies still had to face a competitive disadvantage”, further underlines the ‘study. However, if we exclude the United Kingdom, where the prices of electricity and natural gas are the highest for companies, the competitive position of Belgian companies deteriorates “significantly”.
Finally, the study addresses the ability of precarious households to pay their energy bill. Compared to neighboring countries, precarious Belgian households often devote a smaller share of their income to the energy bill. This is true for both electricity and natural gas. This situation can be explained in particular by the significant price reductions from which protected customers benefit thanks to social tariffs.