The first municipal utilities will increase electricity prices in the coming year to over 60 cents per kilowatt hour. For millions of people, this is a heavy burden. Many flee to supposedly cheaper providers, but what is the real benefit? FOCUS online provides the answer.
Electricity prices are exploding. In many cases, consumers will have to pay twice as high a deduction from January in order to avoid extreme additional payments. For households, this is an extreme additional burden that many cannot even cope with. As an alternative, consumer advocates suggest changing providers. But this is not always a tactical strategy.
“The energy market has completely turned inside out,” says Sylvia Scheibenberger from the consumer advice center in Baden-Württemberg in Ulm. The recommendation that regularly changing providers saves money no longer applies. “If you have an old contract, it’s usually cheaper than a new one,” agrees Hermann-Josef Tenhagen, editor-in-chief of the non-profit consumer portal Finanztip in Berlin.
Energy has never been as expensive as it is now. But instead of panicking, you should calmly check potential savings at home. As our guide shows, there are many of them.
Find the cheapest provider
If the provider has increased the electricity price, you should read the letter carefully and ask yourself the following questions: How high is the price adjustment, how high is my consumption and when does the price increase apply?
FOCUS online says: The provider must make it clear and understandable in a table what you pay today for the kilowatt hour of electricity and how high the working price is now due to the price increase. Customer-oriented providers also list the additional burden on the document.
The “basic price” and “working price” information on the notification letter will help you compare prices. The consumer centers advise using comparison portals for this purpose. Take a look at the details: How expensive is a kilowatt hour of electricity?
The second key figure is the basic price that is due for the connection. It can be interesting for those who already save a lot of energy. If you use little energy, a high basic price is rather disadvantageous.
How do I find the cheapest provider?
Comparison portals, a call to the energy supplier or simple research can help.
“The prices in the basic electricity and gas supply are currently lower than the prices for special contracts,” explains Rico Dulinski from the Brandenburg Consumer Center in Potsdam.
Not every basic supplier is represented with its basic tariff in common comparison portals. To be on the safe side, you can simply enter the keyword “basic provider” and the postal code of your location in the search engine. The energy providers – including municipal utilities and municipal utilities – would have to publish data sheets with their prices on their website.
Choose the right runtime
The term of the contract should be made dependent on the offer. If the price of a long-term contract with a fixed price is significantly higher than offers with a shorter term, Dulinski advises short contracts.
However, if customers want to secure price security for a certain period of time and the price offered is only slightly above the current price of the basic service, “there is nothing to be said against a contract with a long commitment and corresponding price fixing,” says the consumer advocate.
Other factors could speak in favor of a long-term contract. “Does the customer know the supplier, is he satisfied with him and his service?”
Cheap electricity providers also terminate contracts
Electricity has become significantly more expensive this year. This causes problems for many electricity suppliers. At the beginning of the year, energy suppliers canceled a string of contracts because the tariffs offered were no longer lucrative enough.
Private customers whose supply contract has been terminated by the company are entitled to be supplied by the local default supplier. The following applies: Check whether the supplier has already terminated contracts in the past.
Terminate old provider – after price increase
A basic service contract can be terminated at any time with a notice period of 14 days. If you have a special contract – for example with a term of between 12 and 24 months – you can switch at the end of the term. Then it is possible, for example via comparison portals, to instruct the new provider to switch.
“If you want to make use of the special right of termination – for example in the event of a price increase – you can only do it yourself,” says Scheibenberger. She recommends a registered letter to the provider.
The FOCUS Online Guide shows you how to invest your money profitably and avoid expensive traps.
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