Just moved to Belgium? Here’s a guide to help you get connected to Belgium’s utilities, plus telephone, television and internet in Belgium.
Whether you’re moving to Belgium or doing an internal move, setting up or transferring utilities and communications is one of the top things on the checklist of things to do when you move to Belgium.
There is a wide choice of providers – some national and others regional – covering the Belgian utilities and communications markets, with plenty of choice when it comes to setting up your electricity, gas, water supply, telephone, television, internet in Belgium.
Once you find an apartment or house in Belgium, in some cases you can just transfer the previously connected utilities and communications into your name. Otherwise, you can choose your utilities and communication providers, whether national, regional or private.
Standard electricity in Belgium is 230 volts and the electrical plugs use two round prongs. Adapters or transformers may be needed for electrical appliances from abroad.
If you are purchasing a home, you will need to arrange utility suppliers to come and connect your property, or if previously connected, you can request a transfer from the previous supplier at least one week before moving. Both old and new tenants need to sign the transfer, and a meter reading will be taken.
For rental properties, utilities will likely already be connected but check the bills against your meter reading to ensure you’re not overpaying. Payment is usually made by bank transfer or direct debit.
You can compare suppliers in your region at www.test-achats.be or www.brugel.be. You will need to show identity (passport or eID) when connecting utilities. The energy market is regulated by the national regulator CREG (Commission de Régulation de l’Electricité et du Gaz, www.creg.be). The Flemish regulator is VREG (Vlaamse Regulator van de Elektriciteits-en Gasmarkt, www.vreg.be).
You may find electricity rates higher in Belgium than in some other EU countries. Electrabel is the major electricity supplier in Belgium, consequent to holding a monopoly prior to the sector’s privatisation in 2003. It is still used by the majority of households and businesses but other competitive providers have entered the market. Many electricity suppliers also offer gas supply services; Electrabel and Sibelga are two main gas providers, although most companies below offer combined energy package tariffs.
Electric and gas companies have opened to competition, though the monopolies of Electrabel and Sibelga remain the two main providers of electricity and gas, with subsidiary partners providing the services in different regions.
- Essent: www.essent.be
- Electrabel: www.electrabel.be
- Sibelga: www.sibelga.be
- Eni: www.eni.com
- Luminus: www.luminus.be
- Lampiris (green): www.lampiris.be
Connecting water in Belgium
Each region has its own water management. In Brussels the company is Hydrobru IBDE (in French – Intercommunale Bruxelloise de Distribution d’Eau) or BIWD (in Dutch – Brusselse Intercommunale voor Waterdistributie). Farther afield, De Watergroep or the VMW (Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening) covers Flanders, and the SWDE (Société Wallonne des Distributions d’Eau) covers Wallonia. Call the numbers below for details, or in water emergencies.
- Brussels: www.hydrobru.be, 02 739 5211
- Flanders: www.dewatergroep.be, 02 238 9699
- Wallonia: www.swde.be, 08 787 8787
Fixed phone lines and internet in Belgium
To get a landline, you must first register a line with Belgium’s national telecom provider, Belgacom. A subscription activates the landline connection, after which you are free to sign up for telephone and internet services from any company. To activate your landline with Belgacom, you can book an appointment online (www.proximus.be), at a branch, or by calling 0800 55 800. You must be over 18 and provide ID. The Belgian ISP Association lists the main telecom providers (www.ispa.be). Read more about getting connected to telephone and internet.
Main telephone suppliers:
Television licences in Belgium
Belgium is one of the most cabled countries in the world. There now appears to be greater competition in trying to offer combined services: telephone, internet and television. Most of the TV cable companies also offer internet connection via the cable, so it’s worth shopping around – though you may find there is a monopoly by one company and your choice may be not available in your area. You can read more about getting connected to television in Belgium.
Television licences have been scrapped in both the Flemish-speaking region and the Brussels region, but you will need to pay a fee if you live in the Wallonia region – currently EUR 100. This is paid per household and not per television set. You should file a ‘declaration’ at your local commune within 60 days (also downloadable from www.wallonie.be). Read more in our guide to internet and television in Belgium.
Household rubbish collection is organised by the city or communal councils. It is usually collected twice a week. Recycling is becoming more common and there are special yellow sacks for paper and blue for recyclable items such as PET containers, plastic and aluminium. Brussels has introduced the environmentally friendly approach, with white, blue and yellow bags.
- Electricity: Electrabel, 078 35 3333
- Gas: IMEA, Intergrem and Iveka, 078 35 3534
- Gas Leaks: 0800 65 065
- Waste Disposal: 03 22 11 333
- Water: Water-link, 078 35 35 09
- Electricity and Gas: Sibelga, 02 549 41 00
- Power Failure: 02 274 4066
- Gas Leaks: 0800 19 400
- Waste Disposal: 0800 981 81
- Water: IBDE/BIWM, 02 518 81 11
- Electricity and Gas: IMEWO, 078 35 35 34
- Power Failure: 078 35 35 00
- Gas Leaks: 0800 65 065
- Waste Disposal: 09 240 81 11
- Water: Farys, 078 35 35 99
- Electricity: ALE-RESA, 04 263 18 80
- Gas Leaks: ALG, 04 362 98 38
- Power Failure: 04 340 28 33
- Waste Disposal: 04 222 45 58
- Water: SWDE, 08 787 87 87