Why are people complaining about gas prices

Are the bills and discounts for electricity or gas correct?

Have your payments been posted correctly?

Check that all of your payments have been taken into account in full. If in doubt, compare the display of debit and credit notes on your invoice with your bank statements.

Has the bonus been calculated and paid out correctly?

If you change provider, you will often be offered a bonus. An instant bonus is often paid out after a certain delivery time of, for example, 30 days, a new customer bonus is usually credited with the first annual statement. But here it depends on the exact regulations in the terms and conditions of the provider. Do the math yourself whether the bonus is correct. If it is missing or has been calculated incorrectly, you should check with the supplier and insist on the credit.

Are the discounts realistic?

The monthly payments must reflect the last annual consumption. Realistic values ​​are obtained as follows: First, multiply the number of kilowatt hours on the annual invoice with the current price per kilowatt hour. Then add the so-called basic price for the whole year. Finally divide the resulting sum by twelve.

If there is no data from the previous year, discounts must be based on comparable customers. If you can make it credible that your consumption will drop significantly in the future, for example after a household member moves out, your energy provider must adjust the discounts accordingly.

If your haircuts do not fit, request an adjustment from your energy provider. This is usually not a problem. In case of doubt, you can assert your claim by setting a deadline by registered mail.

You should not reduce discounts without consulting the energy provider. Because if you make unjustified cuts, you will be in default and have to bear the damage caused by the default. This means that interest is due. Therefore, you should not do this without legal advice, for example from a consumer advice center.

Several providers demand a discount that is significantly too high and use this tactic to get an interest-free loan. In some cases, the consumption is not read off, but rather a very generous estimate.

How can an estimate of the meter reading be prevented?

To avoid an estimate, you basically only have one option: read the consumption yourself and Submit the data on time to the supplier. Preferably in writing. In order to have proof, you can take a photo of the meter reading or read it off together with a witness. A survey by the energy market watchdog shows that many energy customers do not even know that a supplier is allowed to estimate their consumption and what requirements must be met for this.

Can the supplier estimate the consumption?

Electricity usage estimates are in the basic service only permitted in a few cases:

  • The reader could not enter the property or the customer's rooms, so reading was not possible.
  • It was agreed that the customer would read the electricity consumption himself. But he did not do that or only did so late.
  • The labor price has changed within the billing period. Then the supplier is allowed to "calculate the consumption on a flat rate pro rata". The decisive factor here is the price for the electricity consumed, not the basic fee.
  • The counter is not working properly. Or the invoice amount was incorrectly calculated without the source of the error being clearly identifiable.
  • Estimates can be made during replacement care. The local basic supplier automatically takes over this for a maximum of 3 months if a change of supplier fails or the current electricity supplier no longer delivers due to insolvency.

If you have a special contract, the general terms and conditions of the supplier are decisive. The conditions under which an estimate should be permitted must be listed there. If the supplier does not adhere to his self-imposed requirements, the estimate is inadmissible. Even if the terms and conditions stipulate that an estimate should always be possible, this is not permissible from the point of view of the NRW consumer advice center. After all, the whole point of an invoice is to account for the actual consumption.

What to do if the estimate was invalid?

  • Check with the supplier why your consumption has been estimated.
  • Then check whether one of the above prerequisites for the estimate applies. If this is not the case, point out to the utility that the estimate was inadmissible from your point of view.
  • Let it be checked whether the estimated values ​​are plausible. The advisors at the consumer advice centers will help you with this.
  • Read the consumption yourself together with a witness at the meter reading and inform the provider of the result, preferably in writing.
  • Request the utility to correct the billing and adjust the discounts.
  • For the primary care the Federal Court of Justice makes it clear that the inadmissible estimate does not lead to a right to refuse payment on the part of the consumer. A right to refuse payment can only exist if an incorrect invoice leads to "an objective incorrectness of the invoice that is disadvantageous to the consumer, ie leads to excessive claims". In this case, the right to withhold money only includes excessive demands. Under no circumstances may you refuse the entire payment. (BGH, Az. VIII ZR 243/12, judgment of October 16, 2013)

Whether you are with one Special contract may withhold money in the event of an improper estimate depends on the terms and conditions that apply to this contract. The prerequisite for a reduction in the bill is in any case that your consumption has been overestimated and you should therefore pay too much. However, the case law on this is inconsistent.

If the estimate was inadmissible, retrospective reading is no longer possible and you dispute the estimated consumption values, then a court can also estimate your consumption.

How long can a supplier demand an additional payment for an underestimated consumption?

In principle, the regular limitation period is 3 years. From a legal point of view, however, this presupposes the due date, i.e. a fixed point in time when the invoice is to be paid. Energy claims are due at the earliest 2 weeks after the consumer has received the invoice (Section 17 (1) sentence 1 StromGVV / GasGVV). This also applies to an energy bill that is based on estimated consumption values.

However, case law assumes that you as a consumer must expect a correction over the entire limitation period. Because the consumption was "only" estimated and it was expressed that the recording of the consumption values ​​is not final.