If you need to renegotiate your gas or electricity contract, beware of variable contracts: “They are not transparent”

The war in Ukraine is causing energy prices to explode. Many Belgians decide – or have to – renegotiate their gas or electricity contract. You will find that the vast majority of providers no longer offer a fixed contract. For many households, who do not know how prices will develop, it is therefore a leap into the unknown.

This is the most recent example so far: the utility Engie is canceling its fixed contract offer for gas and electricity. A general trend that seriously worries the consumers surveyed by our teams. “Yes, it is clear that with the current situation, the variable rate… We will bear the full brunt of the rising prices.”one of them slips. “Our contract runs until November 2022. And after that we will see … But apparently it will be a variable tariff …”‘ says another.

In the parking lot of a department store in Gosselies, some people still think they are happy. Jérôme, for example, took advantage of one of the very last permanent contracts 6 months ago. “We’ll see how we get out of there, but it’s usually two years. We were lucky. I think the company is bitching about us… luck. We are really happy.”he said.

Since October 2021, it has therefore been almost impossible to benefit from a fixed contract. But two-thirds of households have been benefiting from it for years. But rising energy prices have led to big changes: Electricity has increased fivefold since last year. And gas is times 20. “We have reached historical levels in terms of prices, which means that today consumers can no longer benefit from fixed contracts. And therefore this certainty, this guarantee of keeping the contract at its level, is no longer maintained.”underlines Jean-Philippe Ducart, spokesman for Test Achats.

In the past month, the price of energy has reached record highs and for the consumer this switch to variable tariffs seems much less attractive. “Variable contracts obviously mean an additional risk for consumers that their tariffs will increase. Even knowing that variable tariffs are not particularly transparent in terms of transparency. The indexing parameters are very difficult to find there.”continues the spokesman for Test Achats.

Legally, in the name of commercial freedom, suppliers have the right to terminate the firm offer of contract.

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