Gas and Electricity
Find out how to get connected to German gas and electricity suppliers...
The new owner or tenant can change suppliers although the previous supplier may stipulate that the supply remains unchanged for up to twelve months. However, in practice change of supplier can be done within a three month period if the customer notifies the respective companies six weeks in advance. It is best to read the terms of the supply contract before changing suppliers as many demand a minimum contract period. The new occupant should make a note of all meter readings from the previous occupant so that the utility company only bills for their actual consumption. Note: In multiple occupancy buildings ask the landlord or caretaker which company is responsible for supplying gas and electricity to the building and where to register. To change account details the supplier will require:
- Meter number (if known). This is a maximum of eight digits and should not be confused with the appliance number on the side of the meter
- Meter reading
- Date of transfer
- The name and contact details of the previous occupant (if possible)
- The exact address including details of which floor of the building the property is on
- Name and bank account details of the new tenant or occupant
Meters are read once a year. Consumption is generally estimated for the following twelve-month period. Bi-monthly invoices slips are issued stating the amount the supplier estimates the customer will need to pay to cover usage. These can be taken to the post office or bank for payment or a direct debit may be set up. Following the annual meter reading, payments are adjusted according to actual consumption, and overpayment is reimbursed or additional payment is requested by the landlord or the electricity or gas supplier. Many companies offer an online facility (in German) for registering as a new customer (Anmelden) or for disconnecting (Abmelden). Check the website of the respective supplier.
Gas and Electricity Suppliers
The energy market was deregulated in Germany at the end of the 20th century. This has led to fierce competition between regional, national and international suppliers. There are many types of energy available in Germany. Individual electricity and gas companies in Germany are regulated by The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) together with the regulatory authorities of the federal states. There are many consumer advice centres and websites offering cost comparisons between providers (Stromanbieter/Gasanbieter). It is also possible to select the type of electricity supply preferred, for example environmentally friendly or nuclear and to select supply packages to suit individual budgets. Most apartment buildings are supplied by one gas/electricity company who will have a contract with the landlord. This means it is not possible for individual tenants to change supplier. However, if the apartments within the building have individual gas/electricity supplies and the tenant is responsible for the bill rather than it being part of the rent, it is possible to switch suppliers.
In order to help consumers the following websites can provide further information and cost comparison (in German):
Mains gas and electricity suppliers
|GASAG (gas) 24 hour hotline||Tel: 030 7072 0000
|Vattenfall (electricity)||Tel: 018012 11 25 25
|E-on (energy)||Tel: 0211 457 90
|RWE (energy & water)||Tel: 0231 438 02
|Yello Strom (energy)||Tel: 0800 190 0019
|VNG (gas suppliers to the eastern part of the country)||Tel: 0341 443 2180
|MVV (utilities in the south)||Tel: 0800 682 255
Germany strives to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. There are many sources of tips on how to decrease energy costs and consumption. Refer to the websites (both in German) Energiesparen or Energie-Richtig-Sparen.