While German gas prices are still in the middle of the European range, we are among the most expensive countries when it comes to electricity. But thanks to the common EU internal market, the cross-border purchase of goods and services should not be a problem. Unfortunately, this is different for electricity and gas.

German consumers have been able to freely choose their electricity supplier since 1998. “This can also come from other European countries,” explains the European Consumer Center. However, there are three conditions that must be met:

Grid fees are increasing: Electricity is becoming so much more expensive in your federal state

If you forget that, you will have double the costs for gas and electricity

Obtaining electricity from abroad is not as easy as buying a coffee machine in Italy, and there are high bureaucratic hurdles: the customer first has to apply for permission from the responsible main customs office.

You can find out which main customs office is responsible for your place of residence using the customs office search based on your postcode. That was the easy part. In practice, however, it is almost impossible to find an energy supplier who is willing to deliver electricity from other EU countries to Germany.

This is because additional administrative hurdles also arise on the part of companies. The foreign electricity suppliers must comply with German law when drafting contracts and invoicing if the electricity is to be delivered to Germany.

If electricity is obtained from other EU countries, the German legal framework applies. The energy supplies are therefore subject to German taxes, levies, levies and the grid fee. The problem with this: German electricity tax law cannot be applied to an electricity supplier who has his place of business outside the German tax area. Therefore, its duties and responsibilities fall to consumers.

If the electricity is purchased from a domestic supplier, additional costs are already included in the final price. With a foreign electricity supplier, the consumers have to pay this in addition to the electricity price and also pay it to the responsible authority themselves. Domestic providers do this for their customers.

So it doesn’t go far enough just to look at the final prices in other EU countries. Because supposedly cheap electricity from other EU countries can suddenly turn out to be quite expensive. In addition to the costs, consumers have other expenses that the electricity supplier would otherwise take on, such as storage, recording and reporting obligations.

For example, the amount of electricity purchased from the supplier must be precisely recorded and forwarded to the main customs office regularly and in a timely manner using a form.