In its draft law on gas and electricity price brakes, the federal government is planning strict rules for increases in energy prices. This should relieve the budget. But the rule also has implications for consumers. What you should definitely do now.

In 2023, energy suppliers should only be allowed to increase their prices according to strict rules. This emerges from a report in the “Bild” newspaper. According to this, suppliers must prove to the Federal Cartel Office in 2023 that the prices on the electricity exchanges justify the increase. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the “Bild.”

This is intended to prevent abuse of the energy price brake. It stipulates that end customers pay capped prices and the state reimburses the suppliers for the difference to the real price. Without the supplier’s burden of proof, this is a lucrative field for rip-offs.

For you as a consumer, this means that if your energy provider announces a price increase after the energy price brake has come into force, this could be illegal. According to figures from the comparison portal “Check24”, 457 gas suppliers are planning an average increase of 56 percent at the turn of the year. 3.6 million households are affected. Among the electricity suppliers, 636 want to raise their prices by an average of 60 percent. The increase would affect 7.5 million households.

In many tariffs, however, the price jumps of the summer have already been factored in. In the meantime, the situation on the market has eased considerably.

“The planned increases are not in proportion to the price development on the stock exchange. We advise consumers to lodge an objection,” emphasizes Leonora Holling, head of the Association of Energy Consumers, in the “Bild”. Consumers are even allowed to withhold payments.

However, the energy price brake does not yet apply. Only when it comes into force will the reversal of the burden of proof apply to suppliers. So far, the planned start is March 1, 2023, so the energy suppliers are still allowed to increase.