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What if you cannot pay your energy bill?

Bills for gas and electricity must be paid. If you do not pay your energy bills on time, your energy supplier and your network operator will follow a fixed procedure.

This procedure ensures

  • that your electricity and gas for household usage are not immediately disconnected
  • that you are given several opportunities to solve your payment problems, e.g. by means of an instalment plan or a prepayment meter (Dutch: budgetmeter).

    If you do not pay the bills, your energy supplier will send you reminders. You should then, as quickly as possible,

    • pay your bills
    • or inform your supplier how you propose to pay off your debts. You can do that by agreeing an instalment plan with your energy supplier, with the public social welfare centre (Dutch: openbaar centrum voor maatschappelijk welzijn/OCMW) or with an accredited debt counsellor.

    If that does not provide a solution, the energy supplier will terminate the contract with a termination letter. You must then find a new energy supplier as quickly as possible.

    Are you unable to find an energy supplier who is prepared to conclude a contract with you? You will then be supplied electricity and gas by your network operator. The network operator will also send you bills for the energy you use. If you do not pay those bills, you will first receive reminders.

    • Pay your bills as quickly as possible
    • or agree an instalment plan with your network operator, the OCMW or an accredited debt counsellor.

    The best solution is to pay your debts to the network operator as quickly as possible and to switch back to a commercial energy supplier. The charges from the network operator are, after all, higher. As long as you have debts with the network operator, you will be unable to switch to an energy supplier.

    If you do not draw up an instalment plan, the network operator will come to your house and install a smart prepayment meter. If you already have a smart meter, it will be activated in the systems as a prepayment meter.

    The prepayment meter for electricity always ensures a minimum supply of electricity, even when the emergency credit has been used up.

    Such a minimum supply is not possible for natural gas. From 1 December to 1 March, you can, in some municipalities, obtain an allowance from the OCMW which can be used to top up your prepayment meter card.

    In certain cases, your network operator can completely disconnect the electricity and natural gas supplies. Sometimes they can do that themselves - for example, if there is any danger. But in most cases, the network operator must first obtain permission from the Local Advisory Committee (Dutch: Lokale Adviescommissie/LAC) in the municipality. The OCMW will always contact you first to see how the problems can be solved.