As soon as you move into a new apartment in Germany, you will automatically be signed into a contract with the basic electricity provider in your building. This is convenient to start with, as you move into a place with electricity. However, it is best to compare the plans from different providers and select the one that meets your needs.
It is rare for some builders to only use connections from a specific provider. Therefore, you have to choose between the different plans offered by that provider. However, the majority of apartments in Germany have connections from different providers, so you can choose offers from different providers that suit your needs.
There is never a time when you will be without electricity in Germany. You will always have electricity from your basic city provider regardless of whether you change providers or have a gap in your contract.
In Germany, how can I switch electricity providers?
You can change the electricity contract either as soon as you move to a new apartment, or at the time when your current contract period ends. However, it would be difficult for you to choose a different provider if the electricity cost is covered within your rent or additional costs.
Germany has more than 1000 electricity providers. There are, however, not all of them serve in every state or city. Previously, the companies focused only on Germans. Startups such as Ostrom, however, are taking over the energy production and distribution in Germany while providing expat friendly services.
Ostrom is the first electricity provider in Germany to offer a website, and customer service in English. The only plan offered by Ostrom is the 100% renewable energy plan. It is all digital and very much flexible. Your contract won't be locked in for one or two years and you can cancel the service online at any time. Ostrom also got many great reviews in Trustpilot.
Unlike other service providers, Ostrom does not require you to calculate your monthly energy consumption cost. Instead of this, you pay a flat fee. They offer electricity plans throughout Germany, so moving from place to place is also very simple.
Unlike many traditional energy providers, Ostrom charges live market prices. As a result, your monthly price will increase if the energy price rises. However, Ostrom also lowers your monthly bill if the energy price falls.
Step 1: compare electricity providers in Germany
Using a comparison tool like Tarifcheck will enable you to compare various electricity providers the traditional way. The disadvantage of most comparison tools is that their websites are in German. If you want to see it in English, you'll need to use your browser's translation feature.
Go to www.tarifcheck.de, click on Storm und Gas (Electricity and Gas) from the menu and open Stromvergleich (Electricity Comparison). In the next page, enter your postcode and how much energy are you planning to consume a year (this is usually 2500 Kwh for a two person household). The result will show you the list of electricity providers available in your area.
Step 2: choose the provider of your choice
Tarifcheck will show you many offers from the providers signed up with them. However, in order to make your decision, you may need to know some names. The following are some of the popular electricity providers in Germany
Stadtwerke München (SWM)
The current climate change is causing German consumers to embrace renewable energy more and more. It is often more cost-effective and easier to sign up for renewable energy than traditional sources of electricity. You might like to consider renewable energy sources than conventional ones if you prefer them
The first year you switch providers, you typically benefit from bonuses offered by them. You may also get unexpected offers from the existing provider when you tell them that you are switching! Perhaps, you need to do this every year to keep getting bonuses.
Anyway, once you compare the prices, features offered and decide on a provider, select the desired provider (weiter) and fill out your personal details in the next section and submit.
Step 3: Confirm the new contract and cancel the old one
You usually get an email confirmation about the new contract in the next few days either by email or by post. In some cases, a representative of the electricity provider may contact you to discuss further about the offer.
To cancel your current electricity contract, you do not need to do anything as the cancellation will be handled by the new provider.
If you move to a new apartment or take on a new electricity contract, be sure to inform the existing electricity provider to avoid misunderstandings and double billing.
What to consider when switching to a new electricity provider in Germany?
There are several providers with almost similar features listed in the comparison tools. However, there are some specific points you should keep in mind.
Bonus and offers provided
Length of the contract - 12 months is a safe and recommended contract term
Payment frequency - Choose only monthly payment
Contract-long price guarantee
Notice period when canceling the contract - 3 -6 months recommended
Customer reviews that are positive
Finally, switching to another electric provider in your apartment can save you hundreds of euros per year. I was charged more than 70 euros per month by the default electric provider when I moved into my new apartment. Afterward, I switched to Eprimo for 24€ per month, and I am planning to switch to Ostrom at the end of my Eprimo contract.
Frequently asked questions
Who are the major electricity providers in Germany?
Major electricity providers in Germany include E.ON, Ostrom, EnBW, Vattenfall, SWM, etc. However, the "best" provider depends on your location, consumption, and personal preferences.