Your electricity or gas supply is about to be cut off?
If you have received a registered letter announcing that your energy supply will be stopped if you do not immediately pay your bills, consider the below points.
Take a deep breath. You can only be cut off if
- you have received at least two payment reminders, and
- each of these reminders gave you at least two weeks to make your outstanding payments and
- the last reminder was sent via registered letter, and
- this last reminder informed you that your connection would disabled unless you made your payments, and
- this last reminder also informed you about the costs that arise when a connection is disabled and then re-enabled.
- In any case, the law prohibits disabling connections on Fridays or on days before statutory holidays.
What you can do
Contact your energy supplier and your system operator and explain your situation. Often, an amicable solution can be found, e.g. you could agree with them that you will pay in instalments or that you get an extended period of time for making your outstanding payments. Consult your last bill or the companies’ websites to find the contact details of your supplier and system operator.
In addition, the law gives you two more options:
You can claim your right to universal service
- You have a right to universal service which applies for all energy suppliers and system operators. If you refer to this right and pay a deposit in the amount of one monthly bill, your supplier must continue to deliver energy to you. For this continued gas or electricity supply, the company must charge you its most common rate. If you pay your bills for this universal supply regularly, the supplier must refund your deposit six months later.
How to do this? Contact your energy supplier and your system operator and inform them that you want to make use of your right to universal service and that you are willing to make a deposit in the amount of one monthly bill.
Please note: Your outstanding payments are not waived by universal service. Your supplier will likely try to collect this money and could even seek judicial assistance to do so.
You can request a prepayment meter
- If your supplier asks you to make a deposit or to pay in advance, you can insist that you be equipped with a prepayment meter instead. These prepayment meters work much like prepaid phones: you buy electricity or gas from your supplier for a certain amount of money (e.g. € 20) in advance (usually this is done via bank transfers, but different suppliers might offer other payment options). Once you have used up your credit, you must recharge your meter.
The installation of a prepayment meter costs € 24 once (while having your connection disabled costs € 36) and then a rent that is a little (€ 1.92) higher than that for a standard meter. The system operator cannot refuse your request for a prepayment meter unless there are safety concerns (with gas). Often, it is possible to find an agreement with your supplier and system operator. For instance, you could agree that you will make your outstanding payments in small amounts along with paying for your current consumption.
How to do this? Contact your energy supplier and system operator and tell them that you would like a prepayment meter. At the time of installation, ask them to explain to you how the meter works and how you can recharge it.
If you face difficulties in dealing with your electricty or gas undertaking, our dispute settlement board will be happy to help. You'll also find an information leaflet on disabling connections on our German pages.