How to cancel your gas utility contract in Germany
Cancelling your contract with your gas provider in Germany is the first step to saving a lot of money each year. Germany’s legal framework enable consumers to terminate their contract under different scenarios:
- At the end of the initial contract term
- Because of a price increase
- When moving out
Each of those cases unlock a way to safely and legally terminate your contract for good. This allows you to switch a cheaper gas provider in Germany or else, move out of Germany with peace in mind. Let’s dive.
In this guide, we are looking at how to cancel your gas contract in Germany in details but here is the short form:
- Check the terms of your contract: it tells you when to notify your current gas provider about contract termination after the initial period. In general, this notice period is 4-12 weeks beforehand. Otherwise, your contract is usually automatically renewed for a year.
- If your contract fees increase, you can terminate the contract early on the day before the new prices apply.
- When moving out, you can terminate your contract six weeks before moving out of your previous apartment, provided your utility provider cannot provide service at the new address.
- If your utility provider notifies you of the price increase without referring to your special termination right, the price increase is then unlawful.
- Find a new gas provider in good enough time, since switching can sometimes take several weeks.
- In all cases, you must write a termination letter yourself. That only requires a few sentences of a sheet of paper.
Cancelling a German gas contract after the initial term
If you want to terminate your German gas provider at the end of your contract, you must look at 2 things:
- The so-called minimum contract duration (Mindestlaufzeit). This tells you when your initial commitment period ends.
- The notice period (Kündigungsfrist). This tells you when to notify your provider in order to avoid an automatic renewal. As a rule, the notice period for gas contracts is between four weeks and three months . However, anyone who has a local basic provider (Grundversorger) have a notice period of 2 weeks . This is usually the case if you have never changed your provider .
Both can be found on your contract or in the terms and conditions. Some providers also list it online in your customer portal.
With those deadlines in mind, you can terminate your contract at any time: you don’t need to wait for the notice period to start at the end of your contract to send a termination letter.
You can use this termination letter template to cancel your contract.
Cancelling your German gas contract after a price increase
You have an early termination right if your German gas provider increases its prices and your fees becomes more expensive as a result (German energy act: § 41 Para. 5 EnWG)
Your gas provider must inform you of the change in advance, and in the same latter inform of your special termination right in that situation. This allows you to terminate your contract without notice – on the day before the new prices apply.
To make use of that termination right, the termination letter should include:
- Point out that you are making use of your special termination right (Sonderkündigungsrecht)
- Write the date on which you are giving notice. Enter the day before the price increase is to take place. For example, if the price increase on July 1st, cancel on June 30th.
- Here is a great template by the Bundesnetzagentur.
This should be sent in written form to your provider. Some accept via email or via the customer portal. Of course many of them adds friction on purpose and only want it in paper.
Note: end of bonus is not a price increase
Many gas providers in Germany are attracting new customers with “new customer bonuses” or “sign-up bonuses”. It’s a temporary price reduction applied during part of the contract.
If you suddenly pay more because this bonus has ended, you are not entitled to a special termination right. When the contract was signed, you agreed to the end of the bonus at this point in time and thus a mechanical price increase.
Cancelling your German gas contract when moving out
If you move into a new home, you can also make use of an early termination right, but only in the following cases (German energy Act: Section 41b (4) EnWG):
- Your current provider is not able to provide service at your new address.
- Your current provider is providing the same service at higher cost at your new address.
Send in your termination letter at least six weeks before you move, including the following details:
- Current customer details
- Pointing your want to make use of your termination right (Sonderkündigungsrecht) because you are moving out.
- Moving out date.
- Include the new address or the gas meter details there.
- Here is a good template for that.
I have sent a termination letter, what now?
After you have sent a termination letter to your German gas provider, expect a few days for them to process it. You will then receive a confirmation letter from them that they have acknowledged your decision, with an end date.
Do keep in mind that your current provider will send you a final bill after you have ended your contract, to clear your balance.
Right after sending in your letter, it is recommended to start searching for a new utility provider. It sometimes take weeks for the switch to happen. In some cases, your new provider can also take over and cancel on your behalf.
I hope this small guide on how to cancel your gas provider contract in Germany was clear and useful to you. As usual, don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments’ section below.Bastien