The high energy prices have shaken up the electricity market.

A bunch of providers have withdrawn from the business.

Others raise tariffs.

Consumer advocates and politicians are upset that basic suppliers sometimes charge more from new customers than from existing customers.

Jan Hauser

Editor in Business.

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Why are energy providers pulling the plug and no longer supplying their customers?

Previously cheap providers could no longer keep up with the sharp price increases.

Your business with short-term electricity purchases is no longer profitable.

Some providers have gone bankrupt.

Others simply terminated their customers.

According to the Federal Network Agency, almost 40 electricity companies have suspended deliveries in 2021, almost twice as many as before.

These include the “energy discounter” Stromio.

What did the cheap providers do wrong?

For a long time, the short-term exchange price for electricity and natural gas was mostly cheap.

This is what “low-cost providers” have bet on, who bought energy at short notice and attracted customers with comparatively low prices.

The basic suppliers, on the other hand, have entered into longer-term contracts at higher costs.

They have also received criticism for this.

Their argument: what happens if the price goes up?

The utilities wanted to hedge against fluctuations with maturities of several years.

It's now paying off.

What else can be done against termination?

Federal Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) sees the mass cancellations of electricity contracts as apparently illegal.

But it depends on the individual case.

Households that have been terminated by the energy provider can check this and contact consumer advice centers for sample letters with claims for damages.

Where do canceled customers get electricity from now?

According to estimates, hundreds of thousands of households in Germany were affected: their provider stopped the service.

The default supplier in the region then automatically takes over the replacement supply.

These are usually the municipal utilities.

The transition runs without overlap.

To do this, the customer should note the meter reading and inform the respective network operator.

The replacement supply ensures that no one is left sitting in the dark and cold.

What does the basic service cost?

It's different and fluctuates.

Some now demand more from new customers, others do not differentiate.

The Cologne-based supplier RheinEnergie had increased the basic supply tariff for electricity to 72.80 cents per kilowatt hour on January 1st and lowered it to 54.09 cents from January 14th.

Alternatively, the green electricity tariff costs 45.74 cents for twelve months, including a basic price of around 250 euros per year.

Entega in Darmstadt charges 67.38 cents from new customers and 31 to 32 cents from existing customers.

Why do basic suppliers offer a more expensive tariff for new customers?