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How German households can save on their electricity bills

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
How German households can save on their electricity bills
Euro notes in an electricity adapter. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Andrea Warnecke

Customers can save a high three-digit sum on their household electricity costs, according to calculations done by German price comparison portals. Here's why you may want to switch your tariff.


German households are overpaying for electricity by billions of euros each year, according to calculations carried out on the Verivox price comparison portal.

This is because nearly a quarter of households in Germany purchase electricity via the most expensive tariff group from their local supplier – the so-called ‘basic supply’, or Grundversorgung in German.

But in Germany, customers have energy tariff options, and saving hundreds on your energy bill can sometimes be as simple as checking your current tariff online and switching to a cheaper one in a matter of minutes.

Based on approximately ten million households consuming electricity from the basic supply, Verivox calculates that Germans are overpaying by about €5.5 billion annually. That's because the average difference between basic supply rates and the cheapest local energy rates currently amounts to 20 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).

What is the 'basic supply' for household energy?

Household electricity in Germany is purchased through different tariffs (Stromtarifs). Through these various tariffs, local energy companies offer different prices for electricity, depending on customer contracts.

The basic supply tariff for electricity can be thought of as the default. When a new house is connected to the energy grid, for example, its electricity will be provided via the basic supply unless the homeowner chooses another tariff option.

READ ALSO: How to change electricity and gas providers in Germany

The basic supply is intended to ensure that everyone has access to electricity, even if they haven’t shopped around for an energy provider on their own. It can also be advantageous in the short term because it can be cancelled at any time, as opposed to other tariffs which typically come with longer contracts.

But the basic supply is comparatively expensive. According to Verivox, basic supply electricity currently goes for an average of 44.36 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), whereas the cheapest available rates on average come to 24.7 cents/kWh across Germany.


How much can you save?

At current rates, you can expect to save about 44 percent on your electricity bill if you switch from basic supply to the cheapest option with a price guarantee. 

That amounts to significant savings, considering that annual electricity costs regularly come to a few thousand euros in German households.

The Hamburger Abendblatt reported that a three-person household consuming 4,000 kWh would save an average of €786.

These prices will vary from provider to provider and from region to region. 

Keep in mind that choosing other tariff options often comes with some additional fees. Still, in many cases taking a look at different electricity tariff options can save households some money.


Also, switching tariffs is different from switching your energy provider. If you currently get basic supply electricity from Vattenfall, for example, you could potentially switch to a different tariff option while maintaining your business with them. But if you are between contracts, or currently on basic supply, you could also consider switching providers.

In this case, a comparison portal like Check24 can be useful to get an idea of which companies offer the best rates.



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