Table of Contents

    Hereby you find some agreements obtained by the ​​​​​​ Ombusman service for Energy


    • Mrs B. noticed her daytime consumption was much larger than her night-time consumption although she did use her electrical appliances mostly at night.

    Description of the dispute

    Mrs B. uses her electrical household appliances at night and during the weekends, and most of them are disconnected during the day while she’s at work: she’s surprised to see that her daytime consumption is much larger than her night-time consumption.

    It appears that her meter is defective and most of her consumption is registered by the daytime meter.

    The DNO agrees, replaces the meter and recalculates the consumption according to the standard proportion 67% daytime and 33% night-time for the previous years and sends a new bill. Mrs B. disputes this distribution between the meters as it does not correspond to the reality of her situation.


    As the meter had been defective for many years, the DNO agreed to recalculate the bill on the basis of the future consumption so that the real proportion between daytime and night-time consumption would be used (41% daytime and 59% night-time).

    • Mr M. received a bill on which the day rate was applied for his night consumption.

    Description of the dispute

    Mr M. had two meters: a twofold meter (with day and night rates) and a ‘night rate only’ meter for his electric central heating system. He received a yearly invoice of 4,104.16 Euros and paid it, but later noticed that the rate on the night rate only meter was superior to the night rate on the twofold meter.


    The distribution network operator considered that Mr M.’s night rate only meter was in fact a regular day rate meter, which is why the day rate was applied. 
    Mr M. contacted the distribution network operator, who discovered that the night rate meter had not been correctly introduced and changed the rate to ‘night only’. 
    The supplier corrected the invoice based on the information sent by the distribution network operator, and established a credit note of 4,513.21 Euros for Mr M.

    • Mr J. contests his energy bill from 26 May 2010. The energy supplier charges a supplement of 7,905 Euros for the period from 1 August 2005 to 8 April 2010.

    Description of the dispute

    The energy supplier answered that the energy bill covered the actual gas and electricity consumption for the period in question, which had indeed been underestimated based on the meter reading.


    The energy bill from 26 May 2010 was cancelled as it had not been established in compliance with the technical rules of the Flemish Region regarding gas and electricity supply. These rules, published by the VREG (Flemish electricity and gas market regulation authority), provides that: 
    When a distribution network operator corrects or carries out a meter reading for an access point for which no meter readings were available in the past (spontaneously, at the request of a supplier or of another distribution network user), it must respect the following conditions:
    The correction or introduction can (except in case of bad faith) concern a maximum period of two years preceding the latest meter reading;
    The correction or introduction must respect the estimation rules as established under Section V.3.6.;
    The rates used to charge the correction or introduction of these meter readings are the rates applicable during the consumption period for which the meter readings are corrected or introduced.
    These conditions are also applicable to the supplier(s) who will charge the distribution network user for this correction.

    The energy supplier has established a new energy bill, covering the period from 1 August 2005 to 31 March 2008. This consumption had already been charged for through the initial (and already paid) energy bills. The correction of the estimated consumptions for the period exceeding the legal correction period of two years has been cancelled. In the end, Mr J had to pay a bill of 4,639 Euros. 


    • Mrs F. disputed her bill from 21 January 2010 because it covered her consumption in 2007 and 2008.

    Description of the dispute

    According to her, this bill did not respect the supplier’s general terms, which state that an invoice is sent every year.


    As the supplier did not send the annual bill to Mrs F. (while he did receive the indices from the network operator in 2007 and 2008), the bill is considered abusive as it does not respect the general terms (an invoice is sent as soon as the supplier receives the indices validated by the network operator).

    The bill was entirely cancelled and is no longer due for payment.

    • Mrs G. has not received any invoice since she moved. A budget meter was also installed.

    Description of the dispute

    Mrs G. moved to an access point located in the Walloon Region. She received her invoices without any problem during the first three months, but stopped receiving them after that.

    Mrs G. contacted the energy supplier and asked to receive copies of the invoices. She did not receive them and thought the supplier would make the calculation at the end of the year.

    An employee from the distribution network operator then came to install a budget meter. The energy supplier had imposed this measure as Mrs G. had not paid her bills. She was charged 100 Euros for the installation costs.


    The supplier confirmed that the invoices and reminders had been sent to Mrs G.’s former address and refunded the 100 Euros charged for the installation of the budget meter. Mrs. G. was also allowed to ask the energy supplier to disable the budget meter. 

    • Family V. has installed solar panels and asks that the bimestrial instalments for the electricity consumption be reduced accordingly.

    Description of the dispute

    Family V pays a bimestrial instalment of € 120 for electricity, based on an annual consumption of 3,500 kWh (day) and 1,500 kWh (night). With the placement of the solar panels, family V asked the energy supplier to recalculate the bills with a yearly consumption of 500 kWh. Family V sent the technical information mentioned on the solar panels but the following instalment had still not been adjusted.


    The energy supplier reduces the payment of the bill to € 50, based on an estimated annual consumption of 500 kWh (day) and 1,500 kWh (night). The initial contract, which had already received a payment of € 120, is cancelled by a credit note and a new proposition of € 50 is implemented.

    • Mr K. contests the two fines charged for breaking his contract for energy supply following a change of supplier.

    Description of the dispute

    Due to the early termination of the contract for energy supply – electricity and natural gas – the supplier imposes two fines of € 75 (both mentioned on the final invoice) on the complainant.

    Mr K. contests these two fines because he only had one contract for the supply of both electricity and natural gas. 
    The energy supplier answers that: ‘As agreed by phone, here are the details of the compensation charged in case of termination by a private customer before the end of the contract: 
    For a definite term contract: a compensation of € 50 is charged if you terminate the contract during the period of 6 months preceding the termination date of the contract. The compensation is owed for each type of energy: the supplier does make a different contract for the electricity and the gas that you are buying.’


    The ‘Consumer on the liberalised market of electricity and gas’ agreement states that the compensation for the termination or early or non-conform cessation of a contract cannot exceed € 50 if this termination takes place within the 6 months preceding the end of the contract and cannot exceed € 75 if this termination takes place before the 6 months preceding the termination date of the contract.

    The maximum compensation of € 50 or € 75 can only be charged by contract, even if this contract concerns the supply of both electricity and natural gas.

    The energy supplier makes a credit note of € 75. This sum is paid back to Mr K., so that one of the two compensation fines is cancelled.

    • Mr A disputed the way his estimated consumption was calculated in the invoice sent by his energy supplier.

    Description of the dispute

    In 2009, the consumption billed for 239 days amounted to 1647 kwh and the estimated consumption for 36 days amounted to 1881 kwh. In 2010, the billed consumption amounted to 1556 kwh and the estimated consumption for 37 days, 2185 kwh.


    The supplier cancelled the consumption bill from 18 January 2010 for 274.51 euros as it featured an estimate of the consumption due to the non-reception of consumption data validated by the DNO for the period between 17 December 2009 and 16 January 2010. This bill was replaced by the 40.36 euros consumption bill from 20 December 2010, which featured the real consumption for the same period. This bill also stated a (very high: 2.185 kwh for 37 days) consumption estimate for the period between the DNO check and the effective billing by the supplier. This bill was also cancelled.

    The consumption bill from 15 February 2011 granted a refund of 293.64 euros. It used the same consumption data as the previous one but included a more plausible consumption estimate for the period between the effective DNO check and the effective billing by the supplier (213 kwh).

    The amount was paid back to the customer.

    Threat of disconnection

    • Mr V. received a contract termination penalty as well as a threat of disconnection from his supplier because of problems that happened during his move.

    Description of the dispute

    Mr V. notified his move to his supplier in July 2010. Since he had not received any reaction, he sent a letter by recorded delivery on 19 August 2010. He also sent several e-mail messages. Mr V. later discovered that there was a risk his meter would be closed at his new address. Moreover, his supplier imposed a termination penalty of 75 Euros.


    For the old address: The supplier has cancelled the termination penalty as Mr V. had signed a contract for his new address: there was in fact no termination. 
    For the new address: The threat of disconnection at the new address was part of a ‘MOZA’ procedure (Move Out Zonder Afspraak), which was cancelled. 

    The MOZA procedure exists for complex moves. It makes it mandatory for the distribution network operator to cut the connection if no new supplier is notified for the EAN code in question as from the termination date of the previous contract.


    • Mrs A. disputed the invoices sent by her energy supplier because the social rate was not applied. 

    Description of the dispute

    The FPS Social Security established on 13 January 2010 a certificate attesting that her child suffered from a permanent physical disability / mental incapacity (of at least 66%), from 1 June 2006 onwards.


    The supplier accepted to correct the bills but only for the year during which the certificate was made (that is from January 2010 onwards).

    However, the loi-programme du 27 avril 2007, which states that children with such a disability / incapacity automatically benefit from the social rates for gas and electricity supply, came into force on 1 July 2009 (article 13 of the Arrêté royal du 28 juin 2009 relatif à l’application automatique de prix maximaux pour la fourniture d’électricité et de gaz naturel aux clients protégés résidentiels à revenus modestes ou à situation précaire).

    Therefore, the energy supplier accepted to correct the bill from 1 July 2009 onwards (before that date, there was no legal provision for the application of the social rate for disabled / incapacitated children).

    • Mr D. contests his bill due to a 35% price increase.

    Description of the dispute

    The customer did not understand the price increase. It was precisely to avoid such situations that he had taken a flat-rate contract for one year.


    The energy supplier said that a letter extending the contract and announcing the price increase had been sent to the customer, but was actually unable to prove it.

    The consumer agreement provides for ‘the possibility to terminate without penalty during 1 month starting on the effective and personal notification of the modification of the general / specific contractual terms or of a price change that does not come from a tariff revision clause contractually agreed upon based on objective and sufficiently defined parameters. The modifications will only come into force after the withdrawal period has expired.’ (Chapter IV, 7°).

    The supplier decided to pay back the price difference to the consumer. Between 1 March 2009 and 28 February 2010, a consumption of 2193 kWh (day) and 4397 kWh (night) had to be charged.

    Tariff 1: 
    2193 kWh x 0.134552 Euro/kWh = 295.07 Euros 
    4397 kWh x 0.07744 Euro/kWh = 340.50 Euros 
    Total = 635.57 Euros

    Tariff 2: 
    2193 kWh x 0.098736 Euro/kWh = 216.53 Euros 
    4397 kWh x 0.056749 Euro/kWh = 249.52 Euros 
    Total = 466.05 Euros

    The supplier established a credit note of 169.52 Euros.

    • Mr M., head of the household, has been invalid for several years, but is no longer eligible for a social rate for electricity.

    Description of the dispute

    For a few years, Mr M. has benefited from the so-called social rate for electricity, based on an attest given by the FPS Social Security, directorate-general allowance for handicapped persons.

    Following a decision from Labour Court, Mr M. receives an allowance for invalidity from the mutual insurance company but no allowance as a handicapped person from the administration for Handicapped persons.


    The electricity supplier refuses to apply the social rate. As an ‘INAMI’ invalidated person, Mr M. is indeed no longer eligible for the social rate.

    Last update
    6 April 2018