The gas market is upside down. Energy suppliers are raising prices or terminating old contracts. Consumers then usually seek help from the basic provider. But that can get expensive. FOCUS online says what those affected have to consider.

A good two years ago, basic suppliers charged higher prices for gas and electricity than other providers. Households could save if they instead chose cheaper tariffs from competitors and regularly selected the cheapest offer.

But that is currently no longer possible.

Because now, of all things, the basic supplier is one of the cheapest gas and electricity providers on the market. This is the result of regular price surveys by the most important comparison portals Verivox and Check 24. According to this, new customers pay the cheapest working price for most municipal and municipal utilities in Germany.

But that also has consequences.

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.

Because providers are turning the price screw due to the controversial gas surcharge, consumers are fleeing to the default suppliers. These also step in if the previous supplier goes bankrupt or unilaterally terminates the contract.

But when you switch to the basic provider, you are in for a nasty surprise.

Instead of the cheap tariff in the basic supply, those affected end up in the much more expensive alternative supply. In the worst case, even unlucrative special tariffs are served up.

Gas costs too high: Compare tariffs now and save

The most common trick is to initially place customers in the replacement supply for three months. Only after this waiting period does the change in basic care take place.

Gas consumers have to pay dearly for this substitute tariff. In many cases, municipal utilities and municipal utilities require double or triple the working price. At Süwag Energie, for example, which belongs to the energy group E.on, a kilowatt hour of gas costs 58.39 cents in the backup supply (gross, as of September 2022). In the basic service again 14.40 cents (gross, as of July 2022). That’s triple the price.

The gas provider uses a legal loophole and a legal release.

Since July 29, 2022, suppliers have been allowed to distinguish between basic and backup supply. “According to the Energy Industry Act (EnWG), the default supplier is allowed to charge higher prices for the backup supply than for the basic supply,” says the Baden-Württemberg consumer advice center.

As a rule, those affected have to accept the alternative care for three months before they then slip into the basic care.

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.

It is even worse for new customers when they are suddenly offered an expensive special tariff. Terms of one to two years are also set there.

Consumer advice centers are reporting increased demand from desperate gas customers who, in many cases, cannot pay the down payments required.

Who is not allowed in the basic service tariff. Can turn the tables and counter it. Important tools are available to consumers for this purpose.

If you get an expensive contract

If the basic supplier has drawn up an expensive (special) contract, you have 14 days to revoke it. To do this, send a letter by registered mail and post to the energy supplier.

Most primary care providers also accept cancellation by email or telephone. However, due to the high volume of work and the current high demand, there may be longer waiting times before the revocation is processed. In extreme cases, you have to pay the higher working price at least for the current month.

By canceling, you automatically slip into the replacement supply. Because you indirectly do not want to conclude a contract with the basic supplier.

However, you can now put pressure on again and demand the basic supplier tariff, especially if you have canceled the previous gas supplier yourself.

The consumer advice centers advise to demand the basic supply tariff with emphasis.

If you end up in the replacement supply

If the primary care provider first puts you on the replacement supply, you should check whether this is even allowed. As the Baden-Württemberg consumer advice center explains, the basic supplier must offer the cheaper basic supply tariff if, among other things…

The replacement supply applies again if, among other things, …

Send us your gas bills! What do you pay for gas from October 1st? How much have advance payments changed for you? Register by sending an email to k.mitsis(a) Put “gas price” in the subject line.

A small note: In view of the very high number of user reports, our response may be delayed.

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