Best Electricity Providers in Germany [2021 Expat Guide]

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In your first weeks in Germany, you have a lot of things to do and arrange. Changing your electricity provider for your apartment is not a must; however, if you are keen on saving quite some money, you should continue reading. We explain to you how electricity works in Germany and how to find the best electricity providers in Germany for you.

Note: No need to worry! You will never be without electricity in Germany. Should you not change providers or have a gap between contracts, you will automatically get electricity from your basic city provider (Grundversorger)

How do I choose an electricity provider in Germany?

You can choose your electricity provider when you have moved into your own flat or house and pay for electricity as an extra utility. If you live in a shared flat (WG), the electricity cost should already be included in your rent or additional costs (Nebenkosten).

There are over 1.200 electricity providers in Germany. The best way to choose your new electricity provider is to use one of the qualified comparison sites, as the best provider for you is highly dependent on where you live.

We will outline the best electricity providers in general below, but for you to choose and change your electricity provider in Germany, please use a tool like StromAuskunft. The page is in German; however, the Chrome feature ‘Translate to English’ will help you out. We have created a small Wiki at the end of the article with the most critical translations.

By the way, you should make changing your electricity provider your habit, and change once a year. The electricity market in Germany is volatile, and electricity prices tend to go up each year. When changing your electricity provider, you usually benefit from bonuses for the first year that makes a change worthwhile. Last year we saved 120 euros by switching from our general city provider (Grundversorger) to E.ON green energy. 

Electricity providers in Germany

Here is a selection of some of the biggest electricity providers in Germany: 

Renewable Energy Providers in Germany

Renewable energy (Ökostrom) is becoming more popular amongst German consumers. They often offer better prices and better service than traditional electricity providers. Here is a selection of some of the renewable energy providers in Germany: 

Below you find an overview of electricity providers in Germany based on price and service.

a graphic map of the best electricity providers in Germany
Source: Strom-Report

3 Simple Steps to change your electricity provider in Germany?

StromAuskunft not only calculates the best rate for you with their electricity cost calculator but also cancels your previous contract and arranges the switch smoothly. You will not notice any change other than on your bank account. 😉

StromAuskunft homepage - energy provider comparison page
Source: StromAuskunft translated by Google

Before signing up or changing an electricity provider you need to have a German bank account. Once you have that, you can follow these three simple steps to change your electricity provider:

1. Compare electricity prices

Open the comparison tool. For an accurate comparison, you need to select the number of people in your household and enter your approximate yearly consumption and postal code. 

As per StromAuskunft, the approximate yearly electricity consumption in Germany is the following:

One Person1.500 kWh
Two Persons2.800 kWh 
Family of 3-44.000 kWh
Large families6.000 kWh

StromAuskunft will now compare all possible tariffs to your basic city provider (Grundversorger). As an FYI, your legal notice period with the Grundversorger is two weeks. 

2. Select a new electricity provider

When comparing the different results, you should pay attention that the tariff you choose includes the following:

  • Max 12 months contract length
  • Max 6 weeks notice period
  • Monthly payments, no prepayments or package deals 
  • A short contract renewal
  • Price guarantee for the entire duration of the contract
  • Good customer reviews
  • Bonuses need to be clearly marked as such

These characteristics allow you to react with great flexibility to changing prices and offers.

Below is an example of a good option to switch to.

example calculation for electricity provider comparison
Source: StromAuskunft translated by Google

As a next step StromAuskunft offers you three different options on how to change the provider:

  1. A simple one-time change (Einmaliger Wechsel)
  2. A one time change and a reminder when it is time to switch electricity providers again (Wechselservice)
  3. A one time change, a reminder when to change again, and an automatic offer to stay with the best provider and price (Premium Wechselservice)

All three options are free of charge for you. Should you choose the Premium Wechselservice, you, of course, will have to confirm the offer sent to you (usually after ten months) before StromAuskunft takes any action. This option is best to not to get caught in an expensive second year.

change service for electricity provider change
Source: StromAuskunft translated by Google

3. Wait for confirmation

After you have entered all your personal details, your new electricity provider will send you a confirmation and your contract. Your new provider will also cancel the contract with your current provider.

How to pay your electricity bill in Germany?

During your provider change, you will enter your German bank account details, and thus your monthly payment will be deducted from your bank account automatically by your provider.

If you have changed or signed up to any electricity provider after moving into your apartment or house, you should do so as soon as possible. Simply by using the electricity in your flat, you agree to a contract. You will receive a bill eventually. So it is better to sign up directly with a good provider than wait for a bill of several hundred euros.

Should your consumption be less than the estimate you entered, you will receive money back after 12 months. Should you use more, you will receive an extra invoice demanding an additional payment (Nachzahlung).

Pro Tip: Upon moving in, ask your landlord where your electricity meter (Stromzähler) is located in the house and take a picture of it (see below). Double-check the counter number with your first invoice. That way, you can prevent possible overcharging for the usage of a previous renter. 

Electricity meters in German apartment house
Electricity meters in multiple story house
electricity meter Germany
Electricity meter in Germany

How much does 1 kWh cost in Germany?

In 2019, the average price for 1 kWh in Germany was 30,43 cents. According to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, the cost per 1 kWh in Germany increased by 53% since 2006.

The average consumption per household for these numbers is 3.500 kWh. Based on that, the average electricity bill in Germany is 88,75 euros per month. 

Electricity price stats for Germany, Price per kWh
Source: BMWi translated by Google

Conclusion

Electricity in Germany ain’t cheap, but there is a way to save several hundred euros per year on electricity. The best way is to change your electricity provider every year by comparing the current tariffs on a comparison website like StromAuskunft. The entire process takes 10 minutes and is hassle-free. 

German Wiki to change your electricity provider

  • Nutzung – the type of use – private (privat) or commercial (gewerblich)
  • Verbrauch – your electricity consumption at home
  • Vertragslaufzeit – the duration of the contract
  • Mindestlaufzeit – the minimum duration of the contract
  • Verlängerung – the duration of the automatically renewed contract
  • Kündigungsfrist – the notice period – how much time you have to hand in your termination notice before the end of the contract
  • Vorauskasse – advance payment
  • Tarif mit Kaution – tariff with a deposit
  • Abschlagszahlung or Abschläge – installments
  • Sofortbonus – immediate bonus/discount
  • Neukundenbonus – a bonus for becoming a new customer
  • Ökostrom – electricity from renewable sources
  • Wechselservice – change service – notifying and canceling the contract with your old provider
  • Grundversorger – the basic city electricity provider from your city
  • Nachzahlung – additional payment – if your consumption is higher than the estimate
  • Rückzahlung – repayment – if your consumption is lower than the estimate
  • Stromzähler – electricity meter measuring your consumption

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If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.

Yvonne
About the author: Yvonne was born and raised in Germany and has lived in the United States, France, and Spain. She understands the struggle of settling in a new home and is happy to share simple services and tips on how things are done in her home country, to help expats get their German experience started.