Energy invoice communication

An underutilized method of communication is communication via a citizen’s energy invoice. In Belgium, every homeowner receives this invoice at set intervals. This action explores the possibilities of behavioural psychology in energy invoice communication by giving certain citizens of Mechelen an overview of their energy consumption compared to significant others like neighbours.

State of the art analysis

Through literature research, analysis of existing good practices and stakeholder analysis, the current state of the art will be defined. This will be the starting point for the rest of this action.

Proof of concept

One pilot project will be developed and implemented as an experiment. There will be a control group and an experimental group of citizens. Both groups will fill in a preliminary survey before the invoice communication and a concluding survey afterwards. The findings of the pilot will be compiled in a report.


The same exercise will be repeated on multiple pilots (or one large one). There will once again be two groups that fill in a preliminary survey, get the energy invoice communication, and then fill in a concluding survey. At least 1000 households will participate in the pilots.

Regional implementation

If the pilots in Mechelen are successful, then they can be implemented on a regional level in Flanders and Wallonia.

Energy invoice communication (action E7)

The project "Energy invoice communication" in Mechelen is a large-scale study examining the impact of several motivational techniques on energy consumption.

For this study, four seasonal folder have been distributed. Each one provides information on the average gas and electricity consumption, as well as the consumption of the 20% most efficient households in the neighborhood. With this information, Mechelen residents can compare their own energy consumption. The content of the leaflet also varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Energy consumption can be expressed in euros, CO2, or a combination of both. Additionally, half of all neighborhoods receive an extra incentive with each leaflet. The first mailing includes a meter form for recording personal usage. The second mailing includes memo stickers with household tips. The winter edition comes with a radiator key (instructions included). And the last spring leaflet contains energy-saving cleaning and DIY tips.

This results in a total of 6 different condition groups, randomly assigned across 90 different neighbourhoods. Everyone received their folder four times over the course of a year, each time with new information, a testimonial, and seasonal tips to put into practice. We have a summer, autumn, winter, and spring folder.

The goal is to encourage residents to save energy through behavioral changes and collectively reduce the city's CO2 emissions. For additional information on energy-efficient living and renovation, tips, and consumption, Mechelen residents can visit this project page. You can also download additional tips there.

Based on the consumption data from the grid operator Fluvius, the City of Mechelen - in collaboration with the University of Leuven (KUL) - has analyzed for 2 years whether the folders and incentives have contributed to reducing the energy consumption of Mechelen residents compared to other Flemish cities. We also examine which motivational technique has worked best and whether there is a lasting effect after the experimental phase is completed.

The research started in June 2021, involving nearly 37.000 households. At the moment, the results are being processed. The intention is to extend the motivational techniques that work best to other cities and municipalities across Flanders in the future. The use of insights from behavioral sciences through the energy bill is indeed one of the action points outlined in the Flemish Energy and Climate Plan 2030.

The steering committee

In 2020, a steering committee was established to co-create the design of the folder. The following organizations are part of the steering committee:

  • Department of the Chancellery and Foreign Affairs
  • Energy Contractors (Natuurpunt)
  • Energie ID
  • Fluvius (grid operator)
  • KU Leuven (University)
  • Febeg (Federation of Belgian Electricity and Gas Companies)
  • SERV (Social and Economic Council of Flanders)
  • Testaankoop Test-Achats/Test-Aankoop
  • VEKA (Flemish Energy and Climate Agency)
  • VOCVO (Flemish Support Center for Adult Education)
  • VREG (Flemish Regulator for the Electricity and Gas Market)
  • VVSG (Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities)
Once the results of the research are available, the partners will also be involved in policy recommendations and further implementation.

For more information, please contact: