Rising gas prices are costing consumers a lot of money, and government aid is intended to compensate for a large part of the losses. FOCUS online shows you what you need to pay attention to, so that the financial burden is limited.

With seven simple answers, gas customers secure the money they are entitled to – and avoid expensive disputes should they not be able to pay a down payment.

Until March 2023, when the gas price brake limits the maximum price per kilowatt hour of natural gas to 12 cents, consumers should pay particular attention to VAT when they bill their gas. The federal government has reduced this from 19 to seven percent since this month.

A family with two children saves 50 to 100 euros per month thanks to the lower value added tax at a gas price of 30 cents per kilowatt hour in winter. With the rule running until March 2024 and covering many cold months, consumers should make sure their gas suppliers are correctly accounting for the savings.

In addition, according to the Gas Commission’s proposal, gas consumers should receive relief in December this year in the amount of the September deduction. If your payment remained the same throughout the year, you will receive the December discount as a gift. Tenants who live in a system with gas central heating get the subsidy allocated to the rent by the landlord. For most households, this means a few hundred euros in savings.

To ensure that you actually receive this, it is worth taking a look at the gas bill first.

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The gas bill tells consumers whether your gas supplier has correctly passed on the federal government’s relief to you. In addition to consumption and price, there is also the value added tax that suppliers charge their customers. This should only be seven percent from October.

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According to Finanztest magazine, if the gas supplier calculates the VAT incorrectly, consumers do not have to act immediately. The annual accounts are important. In this, suppliers have to refund their customers overpaid money. Households can ignore errors on the monthly statement until the annual statement.

If the error is repeated on the annual bill, consumers should take action: write a letter to the supplier, if necessary ask the consumer advice centers. They know tips on how to get the money they are entitled to cheaply and with little effort.

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Consumers who want to check the amount of their one-off payment in December need to determine their markdown in September. Residents of their own homes and tenants who purchase gas directly from the supplier can find out the amount of the deduction from their bank statement from September, from the supplier’s most recent statement or via the apps that many suppliers offer. Tenants with gas central heating usually also receive a copy of the gas bill from the landlord or the property management company. If not, it is best to ask the landlord about the amount of the deduction.

If you know the amount of your September discount, consumers can check in December whether they are getting enough money.

Due to the recently fluctuating gas prices, many consumers are wondering whether their discounts are still appropriate. Answers are provided by energy price calculators on the Internet such as that of the consumer advice center. Enter consumption and prices, the calculator calculates a reasonable discount.

If the result deviates significantly from the current discount, consumers should request an adjustment from their gas suppliers. If the current discount is too low, you can avoid nasty surprises from high additional payments. If consumers have to finance this through loans or credit cards, the interest burdens them additionally. Timely action saves hundreds of euros.

If the current discount is too high, consumers will have more money available for other expenses after an adjustment.

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Gas customers who cannot pay their down payment should act quickly to avoid expensive disputes. Many towns and communities offer debt counseling services that also check state aid. However, they often have to submit the applications for these in the month in which consumers are running out of money. Anyone who only seeks help when the bailiff is at the door causes enormous additional costs for themselves.

The consumer center Berlin points out, for example, that people who were previously not entitled to social benefits but have gotten into financial difficulties due to the rise in energy prices are also entitled to help from the job center or district office. However, the application must also be made in the month in which the payment is due. Since such claims vary depending on the state and city, it is worth asking experts such as debt counseling.

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If a household has still not paid a monthly payment, the supplier may not turn off the gas immediately. According to Finanztest magazine, customers must be in arrears with at least two deductions of more than 100 euros each.

This knowledge is also worth hard cash, because suppliers have to offer customers solutions to avoid the blocking, for example through installment payments. Compared to alternatives such as loans and credit cards, paying in installments usually saves consumers a lot of interest. Anyone who has missed a discount and cannot pay it off in full afterwards should therefore try to pay in installments instead of raising the money expensively elsewhere.

He has some time for that: Suppliers must warn customers with basic services that their gas connection will be blocked at least four weeks in advance and inform them eight days in advance of the exact date.

If you are not in the basic supply, you will find your regulations for payment defaults in the contract with your supplier. As a rule, however, these deviate only slightly from the provisions of the basic service.