Many of the articles you’ll read about living in Brussels discuss the wonderful architecture, the range of fascinating museums and the delicious choice of food and drink awaiting anyone who goes to live there. While all of this – and much more – is undoubtedly true, there are also the basic realities of life to get to grips with. Once you’ve rented or purchased a place to live in Brussels, you’ll have to set about arranging the basic utilities such as gas, electricity, water, telephone and internet and television. What follows is a brief guide to making sure you have access to these utilities when you move into your Brussels home, and that you are billed correctly, without finding yourself making payments actually owed by any previous occupants.
The regions of Belgium have their own water management companies, and in Brussels, this is Hydrobru IBDE. The billing system used by Hydrobru takes the form of a quarterly invoice which is based on an estimate of consumption. Once a year a final invoice will be issued following a reading of the water meter in your property, and at this point, depending on how the final reading compares with the estimate, you will be asked to pay extra, or given a refund.
In most cases, you will need to fill in a form called the ‘relevé contradictoire’, which can be downloaded from the Hydrobru website. You will have to enter the reading from the meter on the form, and it must then be signed by you and your landlord or a previous tenant. This acts as proof of the meter reading at the time you took up residence, and on which the charges in the future will be based.
If the property is new or has been left empty, an agent from Hydrobru will have to pay a visit to read the meter. This will have to be arranged at least 15 days before you move into the property, and the visit will involve a charge.
Useful Contact Details
To download the forms to transfer payment from a previous occupier to someone new: www.hydrobru.be/documents-a-telecharger/formulaires-divers/
To make an appointment to have a meter reading call: 02 518 88 08
Intercommunale Bruxelloise de Distribution d’Eau
Boulevard de l’Impératrice 17,
Telephone: 02 518 88 97
Gas and Electricity
Sibelga is the name of the body in charge of the gas and electricity infrastructure throughout the Brussels-Capital region. The various suppliers make use of the network which is constructed and maintained by Sibelga. Any work which is carried out on connections or meters will be billed by Sibelga.
Each property in Brussels will have an EAN code, an 18 figure number which is permanently linked to the gas and electricity supply points at a specific address. If you don’t know what the EAN code is for a gas or electricity supply point, you can find out by contacting Sibelga.
Depending on the supplier you choose, you’ll receive estimated bills monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Sibelga then carries out annual meter readings and the amount charged will be adjusted on the basis of this reading. If you’re not at home when a meter reader calls, you will be asked to supply the figures yourself, either over the phone or online. If you aren’t able to provide the figures by the 20th of the month following the letter requesting them sent out by Sibelga, then another estimate will be made. The meter figure will be used by your supplier to set the level of payments you make, so it’s in your best interests to ensure that Sibelga has an accurate figure, as a mistaken estimate could lead to you paying too much for your energy, or falling behind with payments.
You should choose your supplier before moving into a new property. Once you move in, if the meters are already operative, you need to fill in transfer documents which can be downloaded from the Sibelga website. The In form and Out form need to be filled in by both a new occupant and the previous occupant, and some suppliers offer the option of filling the forms in online.
If the meters aren’t operative, you should obtain the EAN code for each gas and electricity point and give them to the supplier you’ve chosen. The supplier will then let you know when to get in touch with Sibelga and arrange to have the meters turned on.
The following are some of the major energy suppliers in Brussels. Most of them provide gas and electricity.
- Direct Energy Belgium (Poweo)
Telephone: +32 (0) 800 291 91
- EDF Luminus
Telephone: +32 (0) 78 155 100
- Electrabel (ENGIE)
Telephone: +32 (0) 78 35 33 33
- Energy 2030 Agency
Telephone: +32 (0) 903 02030
Telephone: +32 (0) 800 40 123
- Power Online (Mega)
Telephone: +32 (0) 4 268 20 00
- Contact details for Siblega
Telephone: 02 549 41 00
Email: [email protected]
Fixed Phone Line and Internet Connection
If you want to arrange a phone line and internet connection in Brussels, the first step is to get in touch with Belgacom, the main national telecom provider. You can sign up for a subscription online at www.proximus.be, by calling 0800 55 800, or by visiting a branch in person. Once the line is up and running, you’ll be free to choose from the internet and telephone providers operating within Brussels.
The following is a list of the main telephone suppliers in Belgium:
- Belgian Telecom
- IP Nexia
- Mondial Telecom
The leading Belgian internet providers are:
Having activated your phone line you can select a provider and opt for internet and Wi-Fi services, choosing between fixed data limits or unlimited data use. For a full list of providers, including those which offer high bandwidth provision for specialist purposes, see the Belgian ISP Association at www.ispa.be