By the new Law of 8 January 2012 Belgium has made significant changes to its energy laws covering the production, transport and sale of electricity and gaz. These changes include changes required in order to implement the EU Third Energy Package but also includes new measures going beyond what is required by EU legislation.
New price control measures for non-industrial customers
Any price increase, other than that resulting from indexation under approved arrangements, is subject to prior approval by the CREG, the regulatory authority. The CREG will make its decision on the basis of a bench-mark vis-à-vis neighbouring countries. Indexation increases will be vetted by the CREG and for the period to 31 December 2012 all indexation increases are frozen.
New unbundling requirements
Under the new rules electricity or gas producers or sellers cannot have any interest in companies involved in the transport of electricity or gas. These unbundling requirements will be monitored by the CREG via a certification procedure. Lack of required certification can lead to withdrawal of the right to operate.
The Belgian legislator has however still to impose unbundling at the level of local distribution, which is and will continue to be regulated at the regional level.
Increased powers for the regulator
The CREG becomes fully independent of the Belgian government and now reports directly to the Belgian House of Representatives. Also, tenure is granted to its senior officers. Its powers in relation to the development of new pricing structures are strengthened and the current regulatory system will be abandoned.
The consumer protection measures required by the EU Third Energy Package have now been implemented in Belgium.
Useful link : www.creg.be