Belgium is a favourite destination for many foreigners making up 14% of the population. Most people are drawn to it due to its affordable healthcare, high quality education and rich culture. Moreover, Belgians are among the friendliest people in the world. So you can expect to have a blast in Belgium for the most part.
Nevertheless, before you pack your bags, you should note that the weather in this country will definitely get to you. I recommend prioritizing electricity and heating as soon as you move into your new home. It might sound surprising if you are from a tropical country but trust me, you’ll need these two in Belgium. Thankfully, setting up these two things will not be as complicated so don’t fret.
Belgium’s Energy Sector at a Glance
You will have a variety of choices when it comes to electricity and heating in your new home. Belgium’s energy sector is ranked among the worlds most liberalized. It allows you to decide which suppliers best suit your needs. I understand though that with so much to choose from you might feel confused and overwhelmed.
Most energy suppliers in Belgium will give you access to affordable package deals that will help you reconcile your budget. Besides, if you are an environmental enthusiast then this is the place to be. They also have green energy options that will sweep you off your feet. So you can decide to choose an environmentally friendly and sustainable option. The trick is to stick to one supply for both your heating and electricity needs.
Setting up your Electricity and Heating in Belgium
Setting up electricity and heating is different depending on whether you are renting or buying a new home in Belgium. For those who decide to move to a serviced apartment, will most likely find utilities included. However, if you are planning to stay here for long, you might shop around to find a sweeter deal for your utilities.
You’ll notice that most homes in Belgium use electricity as a source of power. But there are those who prefer gas. Some providers offer both so it’s up to you to decide which one you want. The prices will vary from one supplier to another so it will help to compare and find the cheapest.
Energy Suppliers in Belgium
As already mentioned, there are many energy suppliers in Belgium. The package you get for your electricity and heating. Most suppliers offer gas, electricity, and renewable packages so you won’t have trouble finding a suitable one for your needs. The only challenge might be that some of the smaller suppliers only service certain areas. So your supplier will also depend on where you live.
The most popular energy supplier in Belgium is Engie (previously known as Electrabel). It is the largest supplier in the country and has a large market share. Other players in the market include Essent, Energie 2030, Luminus, Bolt and Eneco. While choosing the right supplier can be time consuming and daunting, it’s all worth it in the end. However, there are online sites that can help with the task. You just enter the type of energy and contract that you prefer and it gives you a list.
Connecting to Heating and Electricity in Belgium
After shopping around and identifying your preferred supplier, it’s time to get connected. The first thing you’ll need to do is set up an account with the supplier. This should be fairly easy and straightforward. In most cases you can reach your supplier through the phone or online.
When you visit the online website of a supplier, you will find instructions and provisions for setting up an account. However, I would rather you visit their nearest facility so that you can ask any questions in person and get clarification. Most of them will require some form of identification from you such as a passport or ID card. You’ll also have to provide proof of residence in the form of a contract or house deed.
Also, find out their method of payment because some will require your local bank details. It always helps to set up a local bank account as soon as you arrive in Belgium. Most utility bills are paid through the banks. Besides, it’s a secure mode of payment. Note that these requirements are not standard for all the suppliers so it might be different.
Electricity and Heating Bills in Belgium
Remember to note the meter reading for your home before you move in to avoid extra costs. Most energy bills in Belgium come in three major components. For a start, you will be charged for the energy you consume on a monthly basis. Subsequently, your supplier will expect payment for your power network. Power networks are operated regionally hence you must pay and stick to that network. Lastly, you can expect to pay fees and taxes.
The good news is, your supplier will likely add these charges and include them in your monthly bill. I would recommend using your bank to pay the bill so that there is a trace of the payment. It might surprise you but the supplier will only check your meter reading once every year. Also remember that you can always change your supplier whenever the need arises.