Just moved into your new Berlin apartment? One of the first things you need to do: Find an electricity provider. Here I describe how electricity billing in Germany works, and will help you sign up at the cheapest electricity provider.
To cut a long story short: Electricity is pretty expensive in Germany, in comparison to other countries. This is due to the Energy transition (German: Energiewende) policy be the German government: To address climate change, renewable power sources like wind and solar energy are subsidised, to make them more common and affordable in the long run.
In the short run though, Germans need to pay a tax on energy consumption, making it more expensive than before.
How does electricity billing work in Germany?
Your electricity provider will bill you in these steps:
- When signing up: You estimate your future consumption. For instance, you tell your new provider that you will probably use 1000 kilowatt per year.
- Your provider calculates your monthly rate based on your estimation, e.g. 1000 kilowatt.
- After one year, your actual consumption is measured.
- If you used more than your estimation, you will need to pay the difference.
- If you used less than your estimation, you will get money back.
- Your new monthly rate is calculated based on the measured consumption.
- If your last year’s rate was too low (you had to pay a difference), it will now increase.
- If your last year’s rate was too high (you got money back, it will now decrease.
How do I estimate my electricity consumption?
A possible way is to look at how much other people consume. Here’s a table of average consumptions of German households.
There are two columns: One is for apartments where you warm water (bathroom, kitchen) is heated by electricity (e.g. an electric boiler), the other where it’s not (=where warm water either is provided by your landlord, or where it’s heated by gas).
|Household size||no water heating||incl. water heating|
|1 person||1.600 kWh||2.100 kWh|
|2 people||2.300 kWh||3.400 kWh|
|3 people||3.100 kWh||4.400 kWh|
|4 people||4.000 kWh||5.500 kWh|
|5 people||4.500 kWh||6.700 kWh|
But honestly, I find these numbers a bit too high. For instance me personally, living in a (small) single-room apartment, with a laptop, wifi router, TV and lamps (but no washing machine) I only consume 600 kWh per year.
Thus: I’d recommend to use a lower estimation than the table tells you. And if you’re afraid it might be too low, simply save some additional money in a free savings account, and get some interest rate until the actual yearly bill arrives.
Find a cheap provider
You can quickly find an electricity provider online and signup via their website, here are some popular ones:
To get an offer, you will be usually asked to enter your consumption estimation and your postal code (because prices vary based on location).
Cheapest provider: eprimo
When you look at a provider pricing, there are three factors to consider:
- Basic fee per month (Grundpreis)
- Consumption price per kWh (Arbeitspreis)
Many providers don’t have the cheapest basic fee and consumption price, but try to lure new customers with bonuses, usually only paid in the first year. So then, their price for the first year looks very cheap but in later years, when there are no bonuses anymore, you will pay more.
Not so with eprimo*: Right now in Berlin, they have a very cheap basic fee and also a fair consumption price. This is the cheapest combination I’ve found so far.
So if you don’t want to change providers every year (to get a new bonus every time) – but just want to order one time a cheap provider, eprimo seems the best way to go.
Find here an calculator of their current prices in Berlin. For prices of other cities, check the eprimo website*.
Cheap provider Calculator for Berlin
Example postal code (Postleitzahl): 10119
|Plan||Source||Min contract term||Basic fee per month||price per kWh||Price per year||Monthly rate|
New: Free advice & help
Unfortunately, all the subscription forms are only available in German. But here is a dictionary of the most important terms.
|Seit wann wohnen Sie dort?||For how long do you live at this place?|
(Here you should probably choose: see next line 🙂 )
|Werde dorthin umziehen||I will move there.|
|Zählernummer||Electricity meter number|
|Lastschrift||Direct debit (= the provider will withdraw the monthly fees automatically from your bank account)|
|Überweisung||By Transfer (= you will need to make the payments yourself from your bank account)|
|Kontoinhaber bin ich selbst||I myself am the owner of the bank account (that will do the payments).|
|Abweichender Kontoinhaber||Different owner|
|Rechnungsadresse – Identisch mit Lieferadresse||Billing address is the same as delivery address|
At this point, eprimo will maybe upsell you to a litte bit higher contract. If you want to keep the original plan, click below on Ursprünglichen Tarif sichern.
Zusammenfassung – summary
Find your entered data here summarized – to order, click on Zahlungspflichtig bestellen.
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