Connection to household utilities

Information about Rights & Duties

Connection to utilities, such as gas, electricity, water, household waste disposal, telecoms and the internet

Default energy supply

Default supply is the supply of energy by the default supplier to household customers in the form of low-voltage electricity and/or low-pressure gas at standard rates and under standard conditions.

The default supplier is the energy company that supplies electricity and/or gas to most household customers in your local network area. If you do not know which company your default supplier is, ask the local network operator.

All household customers are entitled to default supply.

Is connection subject to payment?

There is no fixed amount for the costs of establishing or changing a connection to the mains gas or electricity grid. In any case, the network operator must calculate the connection costs and the building costs separately, and must detail them for the customers.

For electricity connections, a contribution to building costs may only be levied if the power requirement exceeds 30 kilowatts. Therefore, a normal domestic electricity connection is not usually affected.

For gas connections, a contribution to building costs can be levied in any case because there is no power limit as there is for electricity connections.

The standard default supply rate is generally made up of a consumption-based rate and a fixed default rate.

What happens if you move into a home with an existing connection?

The consumption of energy, for example by turning on a light switch, automatically leads to an energy supply contract with the default supplier.

Do you want to stay on the default supply contract?

In that case, when you move in, you must inform the default supplier in writing that you are receiving energy from them. The default supplier will confirm the conclusion of the contract to you in writing.

Would you like to change your supply contract?

If you do not want to remain on default supply after you move in, you may terminate the default supply contract within 14 days. It is best to find a new supplier before you do this.

However, you can usually conclude a non-default supply contract before you move in.

What should you do, and who should you contact, if you have any problems or complaints?

As a consumer and household customer within the meaning of the Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz), you have a legally regulated right to a complaints procedure with the company with which you have concluded a contract for the supply or metering of energy.

For example, do you think your bill is wrong or that a particular service has not been provided? Then you should lodge a complaint directly with the company.

You can download a consumer complaint template from the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) website, and fill it in or print it out directly from your computer.

Send your complaint in writing - e.g. by letter, fax or email - directly to your contractual partner. Although telephone complaints are also possible, it is difficult to act on them as there is a requirement to provide evidence.

What should you do if you cannot pay a bill?

If a back-payment is so high that you cannot pay it out of your income, you should contact the local job centre or, if you are unfit for work, the Sozialamt (social security office). You can also apply for benefits from the job centre or the social security office if you have a low income.

Back-payments listed on bills for ancillary and heating costs must be made in the month in which you receive the back-payment demand. It is important that you submit this benefit application in the month in which a back-payment is due.

How do you dispose of household waste, and what recycling systems are in place?

The collection and disposal of household-related waste is also known as the dual system. Behind this is the fact that the Packaging Regulation (Verpackungsverordnung) requires the industry to take back its products. The industry fulfilled this obligation by introducing the Green Dot (Grüner Punkt).

Since 2009, it no longer matters whether or not the Green Dot is on the packaging. This is because all manufacturers must have signed up to a dual system that feeds used packaging into the recycling network. There are now various competing dual systems that work with different registration numbers. Therefore, even if there is no longer a sign on the packing in future, you should always dispose of your packaging waste in the yellow bin (gelbe Tonne) or the yellow bag (gelber Sack). Packaging made of paper and glass is collected via paper bins/containers and glass containers, respectively.

The packaging is then sorted into different parts at sorting and recycling facilities, and recycled as much as possible.

Further information

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

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