Cash in quickly now? Before the price brakes for electricity and gas take effect in March, the utilities could still increase their tariffs, consumer advocates warn. However, some increases may prove ineffective. FOCUS online explains what you should pay attention to.

The list reads like a German “Who’s Who” of black energy sheep. At a total of 51 suppliers of electricity and gas, there were at least individual cases in which recent tariff increases had proven to be ineffective, said energy customer advice Veneko and “consumer help for electricity providers” at the weekend.

The list, which was first reported on by the “Bild” newspaper, includes discount providers such as Fuxx Sparenergie or Immergrün, who had already attracted attention in 2021 with nebulous tariff increases. It also contains the “electricity works Düsseldorf” , another low-cost provider, whose misleading name gives the impression on the usual comparison portals that it is the Düsseldorf municipal works. But: The real Düsseldorf municipal utilities are also represented on the list, as are the municipal utilities from cities such as Dessau, Munich and Schwerin. (See the full list at the end of the article.)

The more drastically the energy crisis in Europe worsened as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the more serious players in the electricity and gas markets felt compelled to resort to tariff increases. In October, for example, the Munich municipal utility announced that electricity prices would increase by up to 120 percent from January, to 61.89 cents per kilowatt hour. When it comes to gas, there is a doubling.

In principle, providers are allowed to adjust their prices upwards at any time – under two conditions:

With regard to the second point, the devil is in the detail: Because a lot depends legally on how the price increase and the proof of the increased costs are communicated. The provider has to follow a few specifications here – if even one of them is ignored, the price increase is ineffective. The long list of 51 names shows that it can be worth examining the price increase letter carefully.

First, the provider must be able to specifically name the reason for the price increase – i.e. the increased costs. “It’s not enough to say the world is ending,” said Holger Schneidewindt from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center last year to FOCUS online. And, logo: The provider must not lie.

Secondly, the provider must inform the affected customers in writing and four weeks in advance of the upcoming price increase and its causes. In this case, “in writing” means: by letter. An e-mail is only permitted with the prior consent of the customer. What never works: secretly deposit a message in the online customer center on the website, preferably without an e-mail that would inform about the new message. Discount providers in particular, who handle a large part of their customer communication via the Internet, like to use this trick.

Thirdly, the provider must provide clear and understandable information about the price increase in the letter, he must not “hide” it in a long jumble of text. That means: The price increase must be mentioned right at the beginning of the letter, especially in e-mails it also belongs in the subject line. Customers must not get the impression that this is just unimportant advertising mail. Also taboo: Complicated tables in which you first have to search for the price increase.

Fourth, the provider must explain the special right of termination that all customers can exercise in the event of a price increase. From a legal point of view, a price increase represents a unilateral change in the contract. The other contracting party – i.e. the customer – may then terminate the contract at the point in time when the new price would come into force. If the price increases on January 1st, you should therefore cancel on December 31st and switch providers.

In this case, you don’t necessarily have to look for a new provider if you don’t want to. You can also simply object to the tariff change in writing. In addition, state in the letter that you will pay the new price until the facts have been clarified, but with express reservations. It is also important to formulate the letter in such a watertight manner that the supplier cannot interpret it as a termination – which would be more practical for him. The consumer centers provide various sample letters on the Internet.

However, it is also clear that this step can involve a lot of effort. In some cases, it may even be necessary to consult legal counsel. Many customers therefore make use of their special right of termination despite an ineffective increase – and switch to a provider who does not try to rip them off.

Also positive: From next spring, consumer advocates and the suppliers themselves see at least marginally better times, not only thanks to the state price brake. The Munich public utility company, which has been so strong since January, wants to lower its prices again slightly from April, by ten cents per kilowatt hour. Because the municipal utilities have to pay less money from the earnings of their wind farms to the federal government than expected after an announcement by the federal government, there is leeway again, the company announced on Monday.


E how easy

E. Life

one energy in Saxony

Electricity Berlin

Electric power station in Dusseldorf






EWV energy and water supply

Fuxx saving energy

Gas and water supply Höxter


green world



click energy




Mark E


Mivolta (maxximo, voltera, mivolta)

Natural energy (Energiedienst AG)

natural electricity





Swiss electricity


Stadtwerke Ahrensburg

Stadtwerke Buchholz

Stadtwerke Dessau

Stadtwerke Dusseldorf

Stadtwerke Kaltenkirchen

Stadtwerke Munich

Stadtwerke Schwerin


Susi Energie



team Energy



voltera (Mivolga)


WEP (heat, energy and process technology gmbh)

Wunderwerk Inc