How to cancel your contract with your electricity provider in Germany
The utilities market is highly regulated in Germany. It grants you rights as a consumer. You can decide who supplies your electricity or cancel your contract entirely in a number of scenarios. This helps you save money.
This guide explains how to cancel your contract with your German electricity provider, whether you are not satisfied with the price anymore, moving to a different place or if you are leaving the country altogether.
Reasons to end a contract
Here are the 3 common cases that grants you a right to terminate your contract with your German electricity supplier.
Changes to contract conditions or increase in price
If your energy supplier wants to increase the price or change its general terms and conditions (AGBs), it must comply with certain regulations and inform you about it in good enough time:
- It must you inform you about those changes at one month in advance (§ 41 Para. 5 EnWG)
- It must inform you about your special termination rights in the same notice/letter.
- In this case, you have a right to terminate your contract early, taking effect on the day before the said changes apply. Exercise that right within 2 weeks after receiving that notice.
Some German electricity supplies make it purposefully hard for the customer to identify the price increase, although the law states it should be made simple & clear (§ 5 StromGVV). Those tactics can include sending this information buried in a vague long letter, alongside unclear or irrelevant information. Use your last bill to identify a change in terms.
If the letter mentions something like “because of this contract change, you are of course entitled to a special right of termination“, there is probably a price increase somewhere.
Do note: a price increase due to the end of a special “sign-up” bonus does not warrant an early termination right.
Contract comes to an end
Most utilities contracts come with an initial commitment period of 1-2 years. Once this comes to a term, you have a right to end your contract at the end of this term. At this stage, you need to pay attention to what’s stated in it:
- Contract duration: Vertragslaufzeit (e.g: 12 months, max 24)
- Contract extension: Vertragsverlängerung (1 month, as set by law since 2022)
- Notice period: Kündigungsfrist (e.g 6 weeks)
Based on those 3 facts, you know when to send a termination notice (at the latest) and how much longer you’ll need to stay if you don’t do it in time.
Do note that if you have a contract with a “standard supplier” (Grundversorger), notice period is only 2 weeks.
Moving places can also grant you an early termination right:
- Moving places within Germany: some companies give you an early termination right, no matter where your new address is. Some companies only let you do so, in the case they can’t service you at this new address. If they can service you, they have to offer you a contract within 2 weeks (§ 41b Abs. 4 EnWG), and you forfeit that right.
- Moving out of Germany: no German supplier will be available to continue your contract outside of Germany: you have a right to cancel your contract early. Some companies will require you to include your Abmeldungbestätigung for that, though.
How to terminate your contract with your German electricity supplier
You now know you should send in your termination notice within 2 weeks after a contract change, or at least 6 weeks before the end of the contract term.
In theory, a simple letter with 2 sentences in them is enough for this notice.
Do it yourself
The main information to be contained in the notice letter is:
- Your customer details (name, address, customer number)
- Your contract details (contract number)
- Your electricity meter number (optional at this point, but they might ask you either way)
- Whenever relevant, if you make use of your special termination right.
The following template is enough. Include only the relevant paragraph for your case:
Kündigung Stromvertrag [contract number]
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
(-1- Use this paragraph, if you are ending a contract at the end of term)
hiermit kündige ich meinen Stromvertrag mit der Vertragsnummer [contract number] fristgerecht zum [desired termination date]. Ich bitte um eine Kündigungsbestätigung.
(-2- Use this paragraph, if you are making use of early termination right because of a price increase)
Sonderkündigung: Aufgrund der angekündigten Preiserhöhung vom [date of contract change notice you received] nehme ich mein Sonderkündigungsrecht war und kündige meinen Stromvertrag mit der [contract number] zum [one day before the new price comes into effect]. Ich bitte um eine Kündigungsbestätigung.
(-3- Use this paragraph, if you are making use of early termination right because you are moving)
Sonderkündigung: Aufgrund eines Wohnungswechsels zum [date of moving out] kündige ich hiermit den mit Ihnen geschlossenen Stromvertrag fristgerecht zum nächstmöglichen Termin. Ich bitte um eine Kündigungsbestätigung.
Let your new provider do it for you
If you were looking for cheaper rates anyway, your new provider can help you cancel your contract with your electricity provider in Germany.
- If you still have a contract with your old provider, your new provider will cancel your old contract in your behalf take over the delivery from there. This also works if you use a price comparison service like Verivox, Preisvergleich or Preis24, or price-resistant/English-speaking providers like Ostrom.
- If your previous supplier has announced a price increase , first terminate yourself, then select a new supplier. Each new contract should follow the end of the old contract directly.
After termination, you will most likely receive a final bill that includes all costs up to the final day of delivery. You will need to pay that.
Don’t forget to time the switch well so your new provider can take over immediately after you old contract is done. It usually takes 2 weeks for your new provider to do so, but if it takes longer, the standard utility company will take over until this happens: electricity won’t stop flowing into your home.
I hope this guide on how to terminate your electricity contract in Germany was useful. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments.Bastien