After delivery stops and a 500 percent surcharge: pressure on low-cost providers is increasing

It’s practices like this that anger primary care providers, consumer advocates and politicians. There is the provider Wunderwerk AG, who announced to a customer that the gas price would increase by a whopping 538 percent.

The ZfK was sent the letter by the portal “” leaked. According to this, the customer no longer pays 4.25 cents per kWh of gas from January 30, but 27.10 cents. In addition, there is the unchanged monthly basic price of EUR 9.67 gross.

“Many of those affected are desperate”

The providers Voxenergie and Primastrom, which belong to the Prima-Holding group, have also been involved in the past few weeks with sometimes drastic price increases. The ZfK has received a letter according to which Primastrom informed a customer three days in advance that it would increase the electricity price to 110.14 cents per kWh. The ZfK also received this document via the portal “”.

Primastrom even sent at least one other customer directly to the basic supplier. “The complaints about Voxenergie and Primastrom have risen sharply,” says portal operator Matthias Moeschler. “Customers not only complain about massive price and discount increases, but also about the fact that contradictions and special terminations are ignored and higher discounts are debited despite contradictions. Many of those affected are desperate.”

“Need new rules”

Public pressure on the low-cost providers continued to rise on Thursday. With a view to short-term terminations and sudden delivery stops by some providers, VKU general manager Ingbert Liebing demanded in a press release that such practices be ruled out in the future. “Anyone who supplies customers with energy has a responsibility towards them that they cannot rid themselves of overnight.”

This is a matter of course for municipal energy suppliers. “Securing this for all customers requires new rules.”

“Transparency obligations not sufficient”

Thomas Engelke, energy expert at the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, argued that “some electricity and gas providers […] “But that was also possible because the transparency obligations and the regulation were not sufficient.” Politicians must make consumer protection in the energy market more crisis-proof, he demanded.

According to information from the consumer advice centers, there are now seven warnings nationwide and one threat of delivery stops, contract terminations and extreme price increases. Further warnings are to be planned.

Defeat for Evergreen

Some providers have already suffered a defeat in court. In December, for example, the district court of Cologne issued an injunction to declare the announcement and collection of increased advance payments without prior price information from low-cost providers Immergrün illegal. (The ZfK reported.)

As early as November, the district court in Bottrop (North Rhine-Westphalia) had declared a delivery stop imposed by the Düsseldorf gas supplier to be inadmissible. (The ZfK reported.)

Criticism of comparison portals

At the “Handelsblatt” energy summit, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Bündnis ’90/Die Grünen) confirmed that the liberalized gas and electricity markets should be reviewed. The speculation on forever low prices on the electricity exchange is not a resilient business model, he said. “We have to prevent the people who want to save 50 or 100 euros from being cheated in the end.

Susanna Zapreva, CEO of the Hanover-based regional supplier Enercity, had also called for more transparency from the usual comparison portals. These made it too easy for low-cost providers to position themselves well, she said.

Low-cost providers in first place

As proof, on the comparison portal Verivox on Thursday afternoon for Hanover-Mitte cheap provider Extraenergie took first place (annual consumption 2500 kWh electricity, working price: 42.15 cents per kWh). The Enercity basic supply tariff would currently be more than 20 euros cheaper under the same conditions.

At the bottom, in turn, was the provider Sparfuxx-Energie, which advertised with lavish bonuses. The working price here: 75.08 cents per kWh of electricity. (aba)

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