More and more municipal utilities and energy suppliers are passing on the increased wholesale prices on the electricity market to consumers. In some places, electricity prices will more than double. FOCUS online says how you should react and what the federal government is planning now.

Households have recently received price increases from their electricity suppliers – with some drastic increases. For example, the Cologne-based company Rheinenergie will charge around 55 cents per kilowatt hour for the basic supply from January – that’s 77 percent more than in December.

At Stadtwerke München, the number has even doubled. The basic supplier has been sending notifications to its customers for weeks, informing them of an imminent price increase. From January 1, many households will then pay between 54 and 63 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the tariff. A two-person household with an annual consumption of 2500 kilowatt hours would then have to pay 1676 euros instead of the current 753 euros. A price increase of 123 percent!

But it may not happen at all.

As the “Bild” newspaper reports (paid content), the traffic light wants to set a price ban in addition to the electricity price brake on January 1st.

Energy suppliers then have to explain to the Federal Cartel Office exactly why they are raising the price. If the electricity providers cannot explain the price increase, the increase is prohibited. That would affect around 600 energy suppliers who want to increase the price from January 1, 2023. The electricity providers hope that customers will not switch despite the price adjustment because they will be reimbursed part of the costs by the state.

And that’s exactly why the federal government apparently wants to react.

The background is that at the same time as the price increase was announced, the national electricity price brake was introduced. The measure applies to 80 percent of consumption and provides for a price cap of 40 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity. The new price applies to the remaining 20 percent of the previous year’s consumption.

There is a big catch though! Decisions on this expensive ban will not be made until mid-December and energy suppliers could possibly sue. Because the federal government would intervene directly in the market and set prices.

Basically, keep calm. At the same time, you should play through all possible scenarios and take action against the price increase.

The biggest problem: Energy suppliers are just waiting to throw customers out of cheap electricity contracts. If you revoke a contract, this may be tantamount to unilateral termination. It is therefore important to make it clear in the event of a revocation that you are not unilaterally terminating the contract.

If the provider throws you out despite everything because you have revoked a contract, you end up in the replacement supply and, in the worst case, have to stay there for three months. That can get very expensive.

In the replacement supply, the energy suppliers are allowed to change the prices much more frequently. In addition, the energy suppliers are allowed to increase the prices for the backup supply on the first and fifteenth of each month. This makes the electricity bill non-transparent. After all, the energy supplier must publish the prices in the replacement supply tariff for the last six months.

If you fly out and end up in replacement care, the following applies: keep calm, quick action applies here too.

If an electricity provider goes bankrupt or no longer supplies customers with electricity, the backup supply steps in. This is taken over by the basic supplier in your region. In most cases it is the local network operator – i.e. the municipal utility or municipal utility in your region.

Affected customers will continue to receive electricity from the time of termination, but under completely different conditions. Basic fee and work price are then more expensive. This tariff is usually called “substitute tariff” or “substitute customer tariff”.

Anyone who ends up in replacement care should urgently insist on slipping into cheaper basic care.

But what to do if the letter flutters in with the price increase?

Read the price hike letter carefully. Pay close attention to what you should pay more for electricity each month. Bills for electricity or gas can be incorrect at many points.

The consumption listed, the prices set, the amount of the new deductions and the payment of bonus payments or discounts are the most common sources of error – and this buys you time.

The following applies: In the event of a price adjustment, you must increase the down payment yourself. The energy supplier may not independently adjust the deduction without prior explanation.

If the electricity provider has also increased the discount in addition to the price adjustment in such a way that this results in an additional price increase, the price increase could possibly be ineffective. Here must ask for clarification in writing.

Respond and check for possible errors.

Do you have a price guarantee contract? Then the adjustment is also ineffective, says the Federal Consumer Association.

If the provider remains stubborn: terminate the direct debit procedure and contact the consumer advice center or a lawyer.

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It is definitely worth checking whether there is a cheaper tariff. This can either be with the same provider or you can inquire online about possible alternatives. Note that basic suppliers often have lower tariffs than supposedly cheap providers.

Comparison portals such as the electricity price comparison from FOCUS online, 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.

A married couple receives an unbelievable letter: They are to pay almost 37,000 euros a month for electricity from now on. Only after research by the “Rheinische Post” did the couple receive the redeeming message. Your electricity provider has made a serious mistake.

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