Active customers who want to take care of tariff selection and switching themselves can use this step-by-step guide as a guide. If you don’t want to change yourself, you can use a changing service.
1. Prepare documents
You will find all the important information for the change, such as the customer or meter number and your annual consumption, in your annual statement.
2. Take care early
We recommend initiating the change no later than six weeks before the end of the notice period. This gives you enough time if a supplier rejects you as a customer. Readers told us about it. Legally, this is not a problem: Energy companies are allowed to refuse customers outside the basic supply without justification.
2. Use standard search
Enter your zip code and annual consumption into the portal’s search mask and click on “Compare”. Don’t settle for the results of just one comparison portal. Use several, for example the market leaders Check24 and Verivox and the energy consumer portal or Finanztip. Compare the search results. The portals have different filters and some offer exclusive tariffs. In our current test of comparison portals for electricity and gas, Finanztip received a very good rating for its consumer-friendly default settings, while Check24, Stromauskunft, Stromvergleich and Verivox received the grade Good. Almost all important tariff criteria are preset here. See if the default filters match, otherwise change them. Maybe you want a green electricity tariff?
3. Select tariff
Don’t just take the cheapest tariff, but the one with the best customer ratings, high savings and a high instant bonus. It is paid out a few months after the conclusion of the contract. At the moment, however, tariffs with high bonuses are rare. Pay attention to the following:
Attention, advertising. Note that you see the so-called “zero placement” above the search results on Check24, Preisvergleich and Verivox. These are tariffs recommended or advertised by the computer, which are usually more expensive than the first place. They often have comments like “best service” or “high recommendation rate”. If you don’t look closely, you run the risk of thinking that such a tariff is the cheapest.
customer reviews. They provide information on how a provider works. At Check24 you can read what experiences customers have made after a year when the new customer bonus is due.
comparison rate. You can only determine your personal savings if you set the right comparison tariff. Normally, the portals set the basic tariff of your basic supplier. This more expensive tariff only applies to you if you have never switched. With Check24 and Finanztip you can determine your individual savings by entering your monthly payment or annual price. At Check24, click on the blue pen above the search results. With all other portals, your tariff can also be set as a comparison tariff. However, the portals do not know your existing customer price and fall back on new customer prices. This leads to false savings.
4. Check providers
Use search engines on the Internet to find out what experiences other customers have had with the company. You can also find good information about individual companies at the Association of Energy Consumers.
5. Terminate the old contract
first time changer. If you have never changed anything, you are in the basic supply tariff for electricity or gas at your local municipal utility. To switch, all you have to do is sign a contract with a new provider. He takes over the cancellation with your old supplier. The deadline for this is only 14 days. But sometimes it takes a little longer because some suppliers only accept new contracts at the beginning of the month.
Experienced changers. If you have already changed the tariff at your municipal utility or hired a new provider, you have a special contract. If you switch, the new provider will also take care of the termination for you. The deadline for this can be found in the contract or in the general terms and conditions. It is often six weeks before the end of the contract.
This applies in the event of a price increase
special right of termination. If your supplier announces that he wants more for electricity or gas in the future, you can terminate the supply contract. The notice period that applies to you should be stated in the price increase letter from the provider. If you want to use your special right of termination, you should terminate the contract yourself and inform your new supplier about it.
formalities. First check which formal requirements apply to your termination. If the contract requires “text form”, an e-mail is sufficient. However, if the “written form” is required, you must send a personally signed letter, for example with this wording: “I am terminating the contract with you at the point at which the announced price increase is to take effect. Please confirm receipt of the notice of termination.” When doing so, do not just state your name and address, but also your meter and customer number.
Receipt. Make a copy of the cancellation and send the letter by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. This way you can prove your termination if there is trouble.
6. Sign a contract
You can conclude the new contract on the new provider’s website or via a comparison portal. Once the application has been completed and submitted, you will receive a welcome letter from the new supplier. In it he confirms the start of delivery. Your current supplier will then ask you to provide the meter reading. You should receive the invoice six weeks after the end of delivery.