Consumer protection: Electricity and gas: providers collect money with wild west methods

Gas and electricity are also becoming more expensive for energy companies. They try to compensate for the increased costs with questionable methods.

Seldom has it been as turbulent on the energy markets as this autumn: The exchange prices for Strom, natural gas and crude oil have soared to staggering heights since September. Consumers noticed this immediately at the petrol station and when buying heating oil, whereas electricity and gas suppliers pass on the higher costs with a delay. After all, a price increase must be announced at least one month in advance, and in the case of the basic service even six weeks in advance.

According to consumer advocates, the turbulence leads to questionable methods by individuals Energy provider. According to the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, the number of complaints has risen sharply.

Some energy providers work with foresight, others gamble away

Most of the price increases for the turn of the year have now been sent. How much it gets more expensive varies greatly. According to the money guide Finanztip, there are providers who offer their Gas prices triple, Electricity prices and temporarily no longer accept new customers in certain tariffs. And there are companies that raise their prices less or not at all and have not restricted their sales.

The reason for that differences: Providers who have to stock up on very short notice this fall are paying a lot for Strom and Gas. Companies that have long-term supply contracts or operate their own power plants from renewable sources have far fewer problems.

Wild west methods in the energy market

Some providers gambled away completely in 2021: Lition and Optima already had to file for bankruptcy. Other companies show crude Wild West manners: So wanted Maingau Get customers to agree to an increase in the summer – despite the price guarantee.

The Rheinische Elektrizitäts- und Gasversorgungsgesellschaft (with the brands “Immergrün” and “Idealenergie”), Elektrizitätswerk Düsseldorf, Enstroga and Fuxx initially have customers Installments doubled for no reason. If customers disagreed, they received a hefty price increase or even a termination.

Defend yourself when the price of electricity and gas increases

Customers should object to any increase in advance payments for no reason. Because the amount must be based on the actual consumption of the customer in the past. If consumers pay too high a discount, they will have problems getting the money back in the event of the provider’s bankruptcy. After a drastic Price increase customers should terminate the contract extraordinarily.

In the event of termination by the supplier, on the other hand, consumers cannot prevent the supplier from stopping its energy supply at the announced time. You should therefore quickly get a new one contract To take care of.

If you don’t succeed in time, there is no need to worry: the Basic provider then takes over the energy supply. One notice period does not exist for this replacement supply. It ends as soon as there is a new contract. If by then more than three months have passed, the customer slips into the basic service with a notice period of two weeks.

What to do in the event of a gas price increase?

At the turn of the year, gas prices rise significantly with most providers. Municipal utilitiesThose who have not yet announced a price increase will probably follow suit on February 1 or March 1. Because otherwise the providers cannot compensate for the high prices for natural gas on the world market.

Anyone who receives a price increase should first check how expensive other suppliers are. In New customer contracts According to a Finanztip research, consumers are currently paying around twice as much for gas as in June 2021. This means that if a supplier increases prices by 20 or 30 percent, that is probably much less than the customer would pay another provider.

On the other hand, if a provider doubles the gas prices or increases them even more, a cheaper contract can probably be found. To be on the safe side, however, consumers should compare offers before canceling. Contracts with a running time of a maximum of twelve months and of just as long Guarantee on prices.

the Comparison calculator for electricity and gas from Finanztip sort the offers accordingly. In addition, it is advisable to inquire about offers at the local utility company. Because not all public utility tariffs can be found on comparison portals.

What applies in the event of a price increase for electricity?

The situation is different with electricity. From the turn of the year, the levies on the Electricity price considerable. This can largely compensate for the increased purchasing costs if the supplier has stocked up in advance. Some public utilities are therefore increasing prices in file rates not.

If your own supplier sends a price increase, the following also applies here: First call up prices from other providers, compare and then change if necessary. At a Change of provider there is no risk of suddenly no more electricity or gas coming out of the pipe. The supply is always secure.

Is electricity too expensive? Use special termination

With every price increase, the contract may extraordinarily terminated – on the day before the new prices apply. Such Special termination customers have to write them themselves and the supplier has to confirm them within a week. A new contract can then be concluded.

Whether the termination is to be sent by letter or an email is sufficient is stipulated in the general terms and conditions. It says that the termination is in “Text form” an email is sufficient.

This article appears in cooperation with The consumer money guide is part of the Finanztip Foundation.

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