Set up a contract with an electricity supplier Germany (+ find good rates)

If you are just out of a WG into your own home, or simply just signed a contract as the main tenant, there are several things on your to-do list right now. One of the items on the list should be to set-up a contract with a german electricity supplier (just below “buying a sweet sweet couch“).

If this your first time dealing with that sort of thing, like it was for me a few years ago, i thought a little intro on the topic could help you pick a better contract and save you hundreds of euros. Here goes.

electricity suppliers germany

How to set up a contract with a german electricity supplier

First off, let me reassure if you are in the midst of moving all your stuff and completely forgot to open an account with a energy supplier in Germany. You will still have access to electricity in your new place. They don’t just cut the power when the previous tenant has left the place. Being late in opening an account with a german electricity supplier ist not a big deal. Simply state when you moved in, and you will have to pay whatever was used since then.

Otherwise, the process leading to a contract with an electricity provider in Germany is fairly similar to signing up for internet or for a car insurance. It is quite simple. Here is how to get the cheapest offers.

  1. Go online and compare prices for different plans on platforms like Check24, Verivox or Preisverlgeich.
  2. Find the offer that matches your consumption at a good price.
  3. Enter your personal information (have your german bank account ready there).
  4. Wait for contract confirmation.
  5. Let there be light!

If your German is a bit scruffy, there is a little list of words you might encounter during that process to help you fill everything in correctly at the end of this article. Usually, your new provider will make the switch for you and notice your previous supplier about the new contract.

Leading electricity suppliers in Germany are Vattenfall, E.ON, Lekker Energie, RWE, Yellow Strom & MVV. The market is very fragmented so you might encounter other names during your search. Those other companies are also fine but it has happened that some of them went bankrupted because of cash flow issues, losing their customers money for the people that had paid in advance. That’s why it’s important to make that you are picking a contract where bills are paid monthly or quarterly.

As a way to attract new customers in, many german energy suppliers in Germany will try to seduce you with 2 arguments: new contract bonuses & price guarantees.

About new client bonuses

This one is fairly common and can also be found in other sectors such as banking for example. Very simply put; they give you money when you become their customers. The idea is that even though they lose a little bit of money short-term, you customer lifetime value will offset that little amount. Although it can sometimes be very alluring to be given 100€ “for free” just to open a new contract, i would focus my selection criteria on other aspects of the service, especially the long-term costs.

Also be aware that this bonus usually only comes with the first bill. In other words, it’s more of a discount than cash in your hands.

About price guarantees

This argument is much more interesting from a customer point of view. We all know that the prices for electricity fluctuates a lot and tends over time to increase by a fair margin. This is due to investment in renewable energies, sharp demand and also the fact there is really no choice; electricity is vital for all of us. German electricity suppliers will then offer you a price guarantee over a certain period of time, during which there will be no increase in price paid per Kwh. This period of time usually varies between 2 or 3 years.

What if i don’t know which german electricity supplier i have currently?

If you just moved in, the previous tenant took their contract with them when moving out. If you don’t take any further action, you will receive a letter from Vattenfall, which the supplier by default in Berlin. That’s why many people have Vattenfall and there is nothing wrong is that. However, electricity rates are often cheaper with competition especially with price guarantees & bonuses. If you are outside of Berlin, check which company might be the default german electricity supplier in your region. Many expats don’t bother switching supplier, costing them hundred of euros.

Some fine prints to pay attention to when picking your contract

  • Pay attention to the duration of the contract and the conditions under which it can be terminated. If most energy suppliers in German have yearly contracts, it doesn’t mean you can cancel at anytime. i:e: even it can be terminated on a monthly basis, the contract still runs for another year or until the next contract renewal date.
  • Make sure to set your installments properly. It’s easier to pay your bills on monthly or quarterly basis than to get a massive yearly bill.

I hope this little guide helped. Happy picking 🙂

PS : Vocabulary you might encounter during the sign-up process

  • Postleitzahl : your postal code
  • Verbrauch : your estimated consumption at home.
  • Vertragslaufzeit : Contract duration.
  • Mindestlaufzeit : Minimum contract duration.
  • Verlängerung : Duration of the contract when (automatically) renewed
  • Kündigungsfrist : Notice period – how much time in advance should the supplier be noticed of contract termination.
  • Preisgarantie – Preisfixierung : Price guarantee as mentioned above (for x amount of months)
  • Vorauskasse : Payment in advance (not advised, prefer monthly installments, see “Abschläge”).
  • Nutzung : Is this contract for your house (Privat) or your office – commercial (Gewerbe) space ?
  • Ökostrom : Electricity coming from renewable power production such as wind or solar plants.
  • Abschlagszahlung – Abschläge : Installments intervals
  • Sofortbonus & Neukundenbonus : Bonuses for signing up a new contract.

PS 2 : You might to have communicate the number of your electricity meter corresponding to your home to your german electricity supplier. It is usually located in your cellar. Ask to see your “Stromzähler” to your Hausverwaltung or Hausmeister.

34 Comments

  • Reply Ann 02/09/2019 at 19:01

    Hello

    How about water service providers?
    You havent made a post about it. I will like to learn about this as I am moving to Berlin next month.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 15:34

      Hey Ann. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Reply Anni 07/07/2019 at 00:30

    Hi,
    I got the key for my new apartment, after that I have gone abroad for 2 months, then I forgot regestering the gas and electricity with the local company, i will come back in 2 weeks, and register immidiatly. My question is if I have to pay a fine for that delay?
    Thank you very much.
    Kind regards,
    Anni

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:36

      Hey Anni. No fine but you might have lost money for not choosing the right(=cheaper) supplier and you will need to pay for whatever what used that time when you sign-up somewhere.

  • Reply Giorgia 30/05/2019 at 12:29

    Hello!

    I have a question on on the yearly fixed price: I will start my new electricity contract soon, and I will choose something that offers a fixed monthly price for one year. The amount I will give as reference for the contract is 1000 kWh/year. If, for example, I finally use less (let’s suppose 800 kWh/year), will I receive the money back or because I chose a fixed-price contract I will not get anything?

    And in addition, after this one year will my price be calculated and adjusted on my Verbrauch?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 15:02

      Hey Giorgia. I suppose it depends on your contract conditions. You need to look at the small prints. At the end of the year, your consumption quota will be adjusted yes.

  • Reply Tamás 14/04/2019 at 19:39

    Hi,

    I will move to a new apartment in May and this would be the first time when I will have an electricity contract. In my current flat it is paid by my landlord.
    1) Based on my understanding, as soon as my rental contract starts, I will also have a contract with Vattenfall and if I don’t want to change provider, I have nothing to do. Is it correct?
    2) What happens if I move out from Germany before the minimum contract duration? a) Is it possible to terminate the contract earlier then the end of the contract? b) Do I have to do it manually by contacting the electricity provider or based on the Abmeldung and rental contract termination it is done automatically?

    Thank you very much for you help!

    Best,
    Tamás

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:02

      Hey Tamas.

        1- If you are in Berlin, this is a likely scenario yes but i’d still get in touch with Vattenfall.
        2- a)Check what the contract says b) It’s a manual process.
  • Reply Cheryl 13/02/2019 at 16:01

    Hello,
    If the old tenant did not cancel his contract, can I still apply for a new contract when I move in?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2019 at 17:02

      Hey Cheryl. Yes.

  • Reply Matt 09/11/2018 at 16:07

    Hey,

    Really great article and very helpful, thank you!

    I’m hoping you could help advise- the previous tenant has not cancelled his energy contract but has moved out. I took over the contract and am the only one on the apartment contract. I do not have a previous contract (since this is my first apartment in Berlin). However, the previous tenant continues to not cancel the contract while also not paying for the energy and the fees are rising.

    I’ve signed up for my own contract but am waiting on confirmation. Also, I have not received anything from Vattenfall. Am I responsible for the previous tenant’s energy bill? If his late fees continue to go up, I know that they could shut down energy but in that scenario, would Vattenfall reach out to me automatically? Would they just shut down the energy in total?

    Thanks in advance,
    Matt

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/11/2018 at 21:43

      Hey Matt. That’s a great question but i don’t really get it. If he hasn’t cancelled his contract, how can you take it over? His name on the contract, his responsibility, right?

    • Reply Keren 17/11/2018 at 10:51

      How did you manage in the end? We also have the same problem bought i new apartment and didn’t change the name . Now got red marks on the electricity box and don’t know who to call?

    • Reply Duncan Ayling 10/01/2019 at 09:21

      Hi Matt
      I have the same problem. I do not know the current supplier and have applied to a new supplier but they want to know who to take the contract from. My landlord has no idea.
      Did you find a way?

  • Reply Delphine Lesiewicz 20/09/2018 at 12:21

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the article! I moved into a new flat end of July, and through Verivox I choose BEV for electricity as it was the cheapest (or so I thought) but I now have 2 problems with them:
    1- the price per month looks way higher than on Verivox, + on this website I could only choose 3500 kw consumption for 2 person in a flat but now when going to Vattenfall site directly, the suggested use is 2500 kw which I think is more reasonable.
    2- the customer service at BEV is absolutely horrible, unprofessional, really rude and unhelpful

    So my question is, can still I cancel the contract now? (they told me no but sounded dodgy)
    If not can I ask them to lower the consumption to 2500 kw so I pay a more reasonable price? (I pay monthly)

    Would be great to have your opinion on it!

    Thanks,

    Delphine

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/09/2018 at 10:26

      Hey Delphine, it depends what your contract says i suppose. Look for the “Widerrufsbedingungen” condition or something similar in it. It should give details about that. A common standard in a 14 days period after the signature, during which you can cancel at anytime with no justification at all. Same goes for changing your plan. However, if you paid more than your actual consumption, you should get a refund at the end of your first year with them.

  • Reply Mayuresh 06/06/2018 at 17:21

    Hello,

    I have a query and I have contacted the relevant electricity companies. However, as your blogs have always been helpful to me, thought to ask these questions to you meanwhile. Could you suggest me what would be my best action in below scenario?

    I moved to an apartment mid April 2018 and will stay for 5 more months. My landlord had cancelled contract with previous electricity provider, essentially making me to sign a separate contract. However, I have not yet registered myself with any provider. Off late, I heard of ‘Enpure’, incidentally a company of Vattenfall, which has fare prices for short term contract. The earliest date I can register with ‘Enpure’ is today only.
    – How I can cover my usage from April till today?
    – Can I register with Enpure today with meter reading from April, without me being charged twice by 2 different providers for this unaccountable period?
    So far I have not been contacted by Vattenfall, and donno if I will ever be contacted before I move out in September, so I need to sort this out ASAP.

    I understand the easy option may be to let continue with Vattenfall, but it may be worth checking if I still can have better options to consider.

    Many thanks 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2018 at 01:02

      Hi Mayruresh. You need not worry about being charged twice. The starting date shown on your contract with the company you pick will be the date from which you will need to pay the new company. Anything before that is to be settled with the old one.

      • Reply Mayuresh 09/01/2019 at 23:36

        Thank you for your reply. My only question is about your last statement ‘anything before start date (being it today), to be settled with old one’. So if owner’s contract ended with provider-1 in April 2018. Since no one signed another contract, I believe my owner unknowingly/automatically comes in contract with default provider Vattenfall. If I sign contract today with provider-3 with start date today but meter reading of April 2018, there is nothing to be settled with either provider-1 or with Vattenfall. So even if someone has contract with Vattenfall for period from April 2018 to till date today, I am actually paying for this backdated usage to provider-3. Who will verify and will that matter, if the meter reading I am giving is not of today’s date? I am trying to understand, payment against contractual period vs. payment against usage as per meter reading.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/01/2019 at 13:42

          I see. I probably thought you were just changing providers in a flat you already live in. I mean it’s quite simple; you didn’t live there before so whatever happened before your tenancy contract started is none of your concern. Your tenancy contract proves that. Is there something i don’t understand there?

          • Mayuresh 04/02/2019 at 16:17

            My tenancy contract started from April 2018. Since rent did not include electricity, my landlord cancelled his electricity contract effectively from same date of start of my tenancy, and asked me to sign electricity contract with whatever provider I like, from the date of my tenancy, with that day’s meter reading. Unfortunately, I have not signed any electricity contract since my tenancy started almost 10 months ago. So my question was, can I chose any provider and sign a contract effective from date not earlier than 6 weeks in past (as none of the providers including Vattenfall let me start contract from April 2018 via their online form) but meter reading from April 2018? How can I go about it?

          • Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 11:41

            Hey Mayuresh. I have no idea. I would not input a reading from April 2018 since the meter has probably a super high number now, so they might charge you a lot for the next reading.

  • Reply Yedi 15/02/2018 at 12:00

    Thank a lot for the super-useful article.

    I moved in a new flat more than 4 months ago and still didnt get any bill in the mailbox.

    I was told that the previous tenant used Vattenfall.

    Can you recommend which company is the most easy signing up – considering I’m not speaking a word in German.
    The bonus and rates are not that critical for me at the moment I just want to have an easy and fast process and avoid paying late fines.

    Many thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/02/2018 at 22:34

      Hi there. It’s a all a bit of a mixed pot. Vattenfall sort of has good service. I have heard E.ON is good too but you know i can’t compare that much on that level. 🙂

  • Reply zolita 04/02/2018 at 15:15

    Hello,

    Thank you for the article, it is really important to all people moving newly to Germany.

    I have got my new power contract with E.on and it contains that my Abschlag is 88 Euro brutto
    and I should transfer it.

    my question is: should I pay this amount monthly even the power consumption is less?
    Many thanks 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/02/2018 at 21:05

      Yes. If you pay more than your actual consumption, they will refund you the differnece at the end of the year.

  • Reply Ena 30/11/2017 at 02:51

    Hi,
    How menu KW will 70 m2 appartment spent per month / year with two persons living in it?
    Kind Regards,
    Elena

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/12/2017 at 20:31

      Hi Ena. There are many simulators for you to calculate that. Depends on apartment type, heating, hot water all that.

  • Reply Pollyana 16/11/2017 at 14:01

    Hi, love your blog! It’s been my main font to move to Berlin in the last weeks 😀
    I have a few questions, that might be also interesting to other readers.
    How do I know how much eletricity I’d consum? (The comparison sites suggest 3.500kWh/Jahr for 2 people – but what if I spend more o less? still pay the same?)
    In the end of the year the eletricity supplier will inform the difference and charge/pay back?
    It might be obvious to people living here, but for me it’s not clear yet.
    Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/11/2017 at 14:50

      Hi Pollyana. Unless you have special devices to measure consumption for you, it’s easy to measure. If you paid more to your provider than your actual consumption, you will get a refund at the end of year yes.

      • Reply Marta Oniszk 17/05/2019 at 18:35

        hi! thanks for this article. it helps a lot. pls tell me what if I will say that I will use 1500 kWh per year and finally I will use 2500 kWh. I am worrying about prices. I would like to save more money now, so I prefer to say now that I will be using less. does it make sense?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/05/2019 at 09:19

          Hey Marta. It’s more about cashflow i suppose. If you are really using that much more, you will receive a big bill at the end of the year, instead of smaller more manageable bills during the year.

  • Reply Ena 18/10/2017 at 02:14

    Hi,

    Problem with Contact for Electricity

    In August together with my boyfriend we signed a contract for new appartment. The appartment was avaliable/rented since 15 of August.
    We are still in the old appartment and didn’t signed contract for electricity with any company. In september, we asked by e-mail the company that rents us the appartment, should we immediately sign a contract for electricitty and they answered, that we have time and shouldn’t worry about that.
    At the and of last week, we received a letter by post (at the address of our new appartment) by a company called Vattenfall, that we should pay 141 eur. for electricity, starting from this month. We are thinking that maybe the previous tenant had contract with this company.
    The letter was addressed only to my boyfriend but the bouth of us are in the contract for the appartment.
    My questions are: Is there time limit when someone rents appartment and must sign contract for electricity? Must we pay these 141 eur? Should we call or write an e-mail to Vattenfall company and quit this “contract”?
    May You suggest us good company for electrycity?

    Kind Regards,
    Elena

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/10/2017 at 09:32

      Hi Elena. Everything is written in the post already: Vattenfall is your provider by default if you don’t do anything. So there is no time limit per say but because it’s the default option, maybe you could get a cheaper contract elsewhere. How to do that is written in the post as well. Good luck!

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