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Disconnecting from the gas and electricity networks, a false good idea?

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:5 mins read

With the spectacular rise in energy prices and stratospheric bills for gas and electricity, some consumers are wondering whether it is possible but also appropriate to simply disconnect from the networks. State of play in three questions.

1. Is it possible?

Technically, yes, it is perfectly possible to completely disconnect from the gas and/or electricity distribution networks. “Any household can effectively request to have the electricity supply or the gas supply shut off.Explain Pascal Misselyn, director of Brugel, the Brussels regulatory authority in the fields of electricity, gas and water price control. It’s a simple process to go to the network manager.”

An approach that nevertheless remains extremely rare. Concrete example: Ores. The main Walloon operator of distribution networks for electricity and natural gas indicates that “in general, we do not observe requests from customers who ask to disconnect from the electricity and/or gas network“, while specifying that”there are indeed a few isolated cases of customers who withdraw from a request for a gas connection (when the connection has not yet been made), but these are isolated and few cases“.

The situation is similar at Sibelga, the manager of the electricity and natural gas distribution networks for the 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region.

2. Is it desirable?

Everything obviously depends on the context that would push such and such a household to disconnect from the gas and/or electricity supply networks. If it is a question of investing in a central heating system operating exclusively with wood or pellets, why not? But it’s a heavy investment and, in addition, you need a lot of space to store firewood (or pellets if you choose this solution). Not to mention that the prices of wood and pellets have also soared in recent months.

On the other hand, if it is a question of cutting off the gas supply to replace it with auxiliary heating systems in the hope of saving money on energy bills, that is a whole different story… “The riskwarns Pascal Misselyn (Brugel), it is to fall into even greater precariousness. How are we going to live decently without electricity, without gas? Or these households will use solutions that, to me, make me think of the 19th century, like oil or kerosene stoves. These are stoves that are dangerous, you have to be very careful! There is a very big difference between, on the one hand, buying a stove to have a backup during the off-season, just to warm up a bit when there is a big cold snap and, on the other hand, using the stove structurally and only have that as a heating system. Because there, we are still in a situation of great precariousness “.

Nicolas Poncin, coordinator of the Infor Gaz Elec service at the Collectif Solidarité Contre l’Exclusion, has seen a few people pass by who have decided to go without gas. For him too, resorting to kerosene stoves or small gas heaters is/would be a disastrous decision: “In terms of health and housing safetyhe said, it is indeed a disaster, there is generally no smoke evacuation system and, in addition, these auxiliary heaters are often used in dwellings which are not sufficiently ventilated. We strongly advise against them.“On the other hand, Nicolas Poncin advises to maintain the gas supply contract, to heat less and, of course, to activate all the aid levers available to cover the bill (social tariff, CPAS, etc. ).

3. And those who already produce their own electricity?

From a purely technological point of view, yes, it is possible to disconnect – or not to connect – to the electricity distribution network.

It is still necessary to have an installation powerful enough to cover all the consumption of the household throughout the year, day and night. In short, to be totally autonomous, which notably supposes a considerable storage capacity for electricity. In other words, with a classic battery, which will still cost between 4000 and 10,000 euros installation included, we are going almost nowhere…