Everything you need to know about the capacity tariff

The capacity tariff

From the 1st of January 2023, VREG will introduce the capacity tariff in Flanders. This is a new way of calculating electricity consumption. Driven by the massive energy transition to electric power, it was necessary to develop a new way of managing the electric grid.

So starting from 2023, you will have to take into account that your energy bill will look different at the end of the month. Find out all about the capacity tariff and how it might affect your daily life here!

If you would like more information or advice, you can always contact us via the advice form or by phone at +32 3 376 85 80.

On the energy bills we knew before 2023, you could distinguish 3 different general costs, namely grid costs, energy tariffs and the various types of taxes. Grid costs refer to the general costs of keeping the electricity grid operational. The energy tariffs are simply the cost of the energy consumed within a given period. This means the capacity tariff will change the way grid costs are calculated. 

Before 2023, grid costs were always calculated based on the total consumption. But from the 1st of January 2023, the capacity tariff partially will take peak consumption into account. To be clear, it is not an additional cost but it could be that, if you do not take the new calculation method into account, your bill may be higher than before. Read on to find out how to make sure your bill will not be higher. 

Given that we are in the midst of a major energy transition, it is only natural that we need to find new ways to avoid overloading the electricity grid. With mobility also evolving towards electric propulsion, even more electricity will be consumed than ever before. Therefore, to ensure that everyone will have sufficient electricity, the grid needs to be handled in a different way. 

The introduction of the capacity tariff will require you to be increasingly conscious of your energy consumption by spreading it out in time. This will ensure that not everyone will consume energy at the same time. 

A practical example: Just think of when all working people come home at 6pm and they immediately switch on all the lights, use the induction cooker for dinner, switch on the washing machine and immediately switch on the electric heating as well. This will generate very high peaks. Such heavy use of the electric grid will be punished from 2023 with the capacity tariff, so to speak. 

Therefore, starting from 2023, it is important to think more carefully about when you should be using your electrical appliances, such as, for example, turning on the washing machine during daytime when you are at work and no other electrical appliances are being used. 

To keep energy bills as low as possible, it is important to always spread your electricity consumption. After the introduction of the capacity tariff, consumption will always be measured every quarter of an hour by your digital meter. It will then calculate the average consumption of each quarter of an hour. It is therefore important to run as few electrical appliances as possible within the same 15-minute period. You can read more about this in the following.

The capacity tariff is based on some new components that need to be taken into account. In it, the following terminology is important to consider: quarterly peak, monthly peak and average monthly peak. We' ll briefly explain these here.

The measurement is made based on the average electricity consumption on a quarter-hourly basis by the digital meter. This is called the quarterly peak. Your grid costs are then determined i function of the highest peak within each quarter-hour. 

The monthly peak is the highest quarterly peak you have consumed within a given month. It is on the basis of this monthly peak that the capacity tariff is calculated. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you consume as little as possible per quarter of an hour to reduce these peaks. 

Finally, the capacity tariff takes into account the average monthly peak, which is the average of the monthly peaks over the entire period of the final bill. This value is used to calculate part of the grid cost.

 For now, it seems that the capacity tariff will not yet be implemented in the Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonia

Sibelga, which is distribution network operator for the Brussels Capital Region, has not yet commented on any changes to the current method of calculating network tariffs.

CWaPE, which is in charge of Wallonia's distribution network operation, has fixed network tariffs that are valid until the end of 2023. For the subsequent period, nothing has been fixed yet, so it remains uncertain whether they will also introduce the capacity tariff. 

(Latest update: 11-2022)

Unfortunately, analogue meters cannot measure consumption peaks. As a result, you will have to pay a fixed fee by default. This fee corresponds to a minimum monthly peak of 2.5 kW. 

With the simulation tool of the VREG you can simulate what your grid costs with the capacity tariff would be as a private person, self-employed person or SME (if connected to the low-voltage grid). 

As of 1 January 2023, you can apply for a digital meter free of charge and have it installed by Fluvius.

Notice: Fluvius aims to provide all households in Flanders with a digital meter by July 2029. Moreover, this is an obligation from the government, so you will not be able to refuse the installation of a digital meter until after 2025, if, for example, you have a roll-back meter for your solar panels. Brussels has also started introducing digital meters already, although they will only replace the analogue counter with a digital one in certain cases. What conditions can be read here. In Wallonia, this systematic installation of digital counters will only start from vanaf 2023

You can already get insights about your monthly peaks right now if you already have a digital meter. All you have to do is sign up on https://mijn.fluvius.be/, log in using "It's Me" and add your digital meter to the account on the platform.

One can make use of smart charging based on the so-called "Peak Shaving". Specifically, it looks at the highest monthly peak and ensures that this peak is not exceeded when charging the electric car. This way, you can ensure that the charging of your electric car has no or only a limited impact on your electricity bill for the part concerning the capacity tariff. Pluginvest also has its own solutions for this so be sure to

Pluginvest will start offering a solution for this soon called  Lifepowr FlexiO We recommend getting in touch with Pluginvestto determine when you would need this automatic system and as of when it could be installed.

If you need this solution right away, you should contact Lifepowr directly. That way, you will be able to receive immediate assistance.  

Our opinion

The introduction of the capacity tariff will prove necessary to ensure the proper operation of our power grid over time. However, at Pluginvest, we do believe that more consideration can be given to EV drivers and the charging of their cars. Pluginvest CEO, Sander Hereijgers, explains: "In itself, the capacity tariff is a good thing for the energy transition. However, the calculation method would still have to be adjusted so that EV chargers are not penalised, because they are in fact just part of the solution we need, which is to make energy consumption steerable in function of grid capacity."

Although the capacity tariff has already been approved, the issue is still subject to a court case filed by Energy Minister Zuhal Demir. So it remains an open question what the final outcome of this will be. 

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