Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

back to overview

October 1999

You've Got the Power

Changes in the electricity market yield more options for Müncheners.

Electricity (strom) is in. Electricity is sexy. Open any German newspaper and count the ads of companies selling power. There’s green power, blue power, yellow power, family power, singles’ power. No doubt, there will soon be eco-friendly flower power. What happened to telecommunications last year has now hit electricity. Because the monopoly of the state provider — in this case, the local municipal plant Stadtwerke München — has been broken, a plethora of private companies are offering a bewildering array of tariffs. This competition means prices are going to fall. Consumers could save up to 30 percent on their current bills. Electricity invoices are separated into three parts: A fixed charge (Grundpreis/Verrechnungspreis) per month or per year. This is sometimes broken down into a Leistungspreis, which covers the cost of building power stations, and a Verrechnungspreis, which covers electricity meter (Zähler) rental, administration costs, etc. A charge per kilowatt-hour (kWh) — the Arbeitspreis — for each unit you consume. This covers the cost of producing and transmitting electricity. As of April 1, it also includes an eco-tax (Ökosteuer) of 2 Pfennig per kWh. Sales tax (Mehrwertsteuer) of 16 percent. Consumers now have the right to change power suppliers, although the Stadtwerke remains responsible for technical problems. The new suppliers are promising not only lower prices; many will deal with canceling your existing contract with the Stadtwerke. so what should you do? 1. Find out your annual consumption (Jahresverbrauch) from your latest electricity bill. 2. Calculate what you’ll pay if you stay with the Stadtwerke, which is offering two new tariffs as of October 1. Variante 1 entails a fixed charge of DM 59.40 per year, plus a charge of 28.5 Pfennig per kWh; Variante 2 includes a fixed charge of DM 215.40 per year, plus a charge of 23 Pfennig per kWh. The latter option is cheaper if you consume more than 2,850 kWh a year. 3. Contact a variety of private suppliers and ask for details of their offers. Compare their prices with those of the Stadtwerke, as well as contract terms. How long is the contract period (Vertragslaufzeit)? What is the notice period for ending the contract? Is there a minimum required consumption? Will future price cuts be passed on to you? 4. If you decide to change, contact your chosen new supplier and they will arrange it for you. If your consumption is low — say, around 1,000 kWh a year — you may find there is little advantage in switching. A number of suppliers offer green/ecological electricity (Ökostrom), produced — in part, at least — from solar, wind, water power, etc. Such electricity is more expensive — an additional 3 Pfennig per kWh in the case of the Stadtwerke München. Verify where the power is coming from. Some of the new offers include different prices for peak (Hauptzeit) and off-peak (Nebenzeit) times. You may need a new meter to take advantage of this. Further information: Verbraucherzentrale Bayern e.V.. Tel. (089) 539 87-0, Stadtwerke München, (089) 2361-46 66,;; or <<<

tell a friend