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Belgian electricity and gas bills hit an all-time high
Gas and electricity bills for Belgian households rose to a record level in April, according to monthly figures from the Flemish energy regulator VREG.
Households whose energy contracts renew in April can expect to see their annual bill rise to a record average of €1,708, De Standaard reports.
Savings from the VAT reduction from 21% to 6% that the government implemented introduced to temper the sharp rise in energy costs are no longer as effective, as the war in Ukraine continues to put pressure on pricing.
That VAT reduction did result in smaller bills (€1,468) for those who renewed contracts in March, but due to the rising price of electricity, such savings are already in the rear view mirror.
Costs are especially high for natural gas: anyone taking out such a contract in April will be paying €3,659 on an annual basis, another all-time high that even tops January’s record prices. Prices decreased somewhat in February and March, but that trend has come to an end.
Even when the April VAT reduction is factored in, bills remain at record levels, although without the VAT reduction, the bill would be even higher.
“A new quarter begins in April,” explained VREG spokesperson Leen Vandezande.
“Many variable contracts are adjusted each quarter, as well as for those who conclude new contracts. That is why we are now seeing the effect of wholesale prices in April.”
The federal government has already launched a series of energy-saving measures and published tips on a new official government site that include turning down the heating by one degree, replacing older, energy-hungry fridges and cooking more in the microwave.