Ostrom’s guide to electricity in Germany
Whether you’ve just arrived in Germany, or you’ve been here for years, finding an electricity provider is tricky. There are over 1.200 companies in Germany alone, each offering different tariffs, price guarantees, and bonuses. So how do you know if you’re getting a good deal, especially if you don’t speak German?
As both energy experts and expats, the team at Ostrom knows how confusing the German energy industry is. This is why they’ve simplified everything with one flexible monthly plan with transparent pricing. You can cancel it at any time, and everything is in English as well as German! Here’s a brief lowdown on all things electricity in Germany - and how Ostrom can help.
Ostrom knows electricity in Germany can be confusing - so they've simplified everything
Why do I have to choose a provider?
In Germany you must pay an energy provider directly for your power, even if you’re renting. If you don’t sign up to one before you move in, you might be automatically signed up to the default provider (the Grundversorgung). This means you’ll have electricity from day one, but be warned: default providers always have higher prices, and you might find yourself stuck in a contract you don’t want, so it’s best to avoid this.
Signing up for things in Germany can be daunting when you don’t speak German, which is why Ostrom offers everything in English - from their sign up process, to contracts, customer support, and even their app.
How are electricity prices calculated in Germany?
The price you pay monthly for electricity is based on your location and your estimated kilowatt hour (kWh) consumption for the year. The best way to estimate this is with your energy bill from the previous year, but if you don’t have one you can also make an estimate based on the number of people you live with. Generally it’s 1.500 kWh for one person, 2.500 for two, 3.500 for three, and so on.
Of course, the actual energy consumption of a household will vary significantly depending on location and lifestyle, so with most providers you will receive either a refund or a bill (Nachzahlung) at the end of each year. After the first year, your monthly price will then change based on the previous year's consumption.
Bonuses and price guarantees sound good, but are they?
Providers will often offer a new customer bonus (Neukundenbonus), spread out across the first year, to lure new customers in. Once that year is over, however, prices are often increased significantly, and you’re left locked into an expensive contract for another year.
Price guarantees (Preisgarantie) also sound appealing, as you know you’ll be paying the same amount for the next year no matter what happens. They can make a difference if you time it right, but now is not the time! The current energy crisis has seen prices triple in the last year, and no one wants to be paying three times more than they need to once prices drop.
Ostrom promises to offer electricity at purchase price, which includes passing on any cost reductions to their customers. This is why they offer one flexible monthly tariff that you can adjust or cancel at any time, rather than offering price guarantees and bonuses.
What do I need to sign up for electricity, or to switch to a new provider?
Once you’ve chosen a provider, you’ll need to give them the standard personal details, as well as your postcode and address in Germany, and the estimate of your yearly consumption in kWh.
You’ll also need the meter number (Zählernummer) that is unique to your home. If you’re already living there, you can find this on the meter itself (usually near the front door or in the basement). If you’re moving to a new place, you’ll find it on the handover protocol (Übergabeprotokoll). If you’re still having trouble finding it, you can always ask your property manager (Hauswervaltung).
Ostrom has worked hard to make signing up as easy as can be. With everything done online, it takes just a few minutes to sign up. Their customer support team will make the switch for you, and you’ll receive everything in both English and German.
Like what you hear? Head to Ostrom.de to sign up today!