Stricter rules for electricity and gas suppliers planned

Status: 01/24/2022 10:52 a.m

The federal government wants to better protect electricity and gas customers from incalculable price jumps. The reason is the termination of supply contracts – and the business practices of some suppliers.

The Federal Government is planning an amendment to the Energy Industry Act in order to prevent short-term cancellations of electricity and gas contracts by low-cost providers and price jumps in the future. “We must not leave consumers out in the rain again,” said Oliver Krischer (Greens), Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics, the news agency dpa.

According to Krischer, the federal government wants to work for uniform tariffs in the so-called basic service, so that new customers do not sometimes have to pay many times more than existing customers. “Split basic service tariffs are ultimately just an unnecessary employment program for courts, which we want to avoid.” Split tariffs mean different conditions for new and existing customers.

Longer notice periods

In the event of short-term termination by the electricity and gas provider, affected consumers fall into the so-called replacement supply with the basic supplier of the respective municipality. After three months, there is a change to the basic service if the customers have not already looked for another provider.

“It was and is a great burden for many people and a great shock to suddenly find a cancellation from the gas or electricity provider in the mailbox,” said Krischer. According to the plans of the federal government, a termination of gas or electricity deliveries should also have to be announced several months in advance. According to the Secretary of State, consumers should be able to look for a new supplier in peace.

Electricity sold to large customers at top prices?

After extreme price jumps on the energy exchanges, some electricity and gas providers had discontinued the supply of electricity or natural gas, some retrospectively. Apparently, some providers had not hedged against price jumps with the help of long-term forward transactions, but had to buy the required amounts of electricity at short notice on the so-called spot market at maximum prices.

According to media reports, the Federal Network Agency is even investigating whether individual low-cost providers may prefer to sell the electricity they bought cheaply to large customers at top prices and therefore terminated their private customers.

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