Millions of consumers are trembling: A hefty price increase for gas and electricity could soon arrive. Some providers add 100 percent – so they charge twice as much as before. But consumers do not have to swallow every increase in energy prices.

Because the higher energy prices are often already included in the current ancillary costs. The “Bild” newspaper points this out. If that’s the case, the utility has no reason to raise again. Maybe a provider just wants to forestall the planned price brakes.

Expert Aribert Peters, board member of the Federation for Energy Consumers, explained to the paper the background to why some suppliers are just turning the price screw.

Expert Peters explains in the article: The more “the utilities raise now, the more money they can now get from consumers and then from the state.”

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This is related to the planned price brakes for gas and electricity that the federal government wants to introduce in March 2023. Both should apply retrospectively from January 1st.

The traffic light plan envisages that both price brakes in March will be paid out retrospectively for January and February. Then consumers only pay the capped electricity and gas prices for 80 percent of their needs. The difference to the much higher utility price is paid by the state and thus by the taxpayer.

The federal government shows in a diagram how the price brakes should work:

From January 2023, consumers will initially have to pay for the increase themselves. Then, in March, the state reimburses them the difference for the first two months of the year from the state. That sounds cumbersome, but there is probably no faster way to organize it.

According to tariff expert Peters, paying the higher prices for January and February yourself can be avoided under certain circumstances.

Consumers must clarify in advance whether they are a basic service customer or whether they have signed a special contract.

Short explanation:

The default supplier is the utility company that supplies most household customers with electricity and/or gas in their personal network area.

Anyone who is no longer with the provider they had when they moved in has concluded a special contract. So he is no longer with the original provider.

Depending on what is the case, the procedure differs.

basic service contract

The following applies here: A basic supplier cannot simply increase its prices as it pleases. An increase is only binding if the supplier can prove that higher purchase prices are the reason for the surcharge. If he cannot prove this, consumers do not have to accept a price increase.

The tip of tariff expert Peters: Consumers should ask their supplier in writing to justify their planned price increase. If he does not do this or with the “wrong” reason, consumers can refuse the new higher payment.

special contracts

In contrast to the basic service, customers of special contracts cannot simply ignore the price increase. However, they can terminate their electricity contract immediately if the supplier tightens the price. That means: No matter how a provider justifies the higher prices: Consumers can cancel without asking.

But be careful: Customers with special contracts must use their right of termination before the price increase occurs.

Nevertheless, customers should not spontaneously give up their previous supplier. Before that, they should take care of finding a new provider who will also take them as a customer.

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