Votes bill and deductions for electricity or gas?
Do you suspect that something is wrong with your gas or electricity bill? We’ll help you with the exam and show you what to do if you have billing errors.
The essentials in brief:
- Billings for electricity or gas can be faulty at many points.
- Consumption and set prices, the amount of new discounts and the payment of bonuses are important sources of error.
- If your bill is wrong, you can complain about it.
What to do if the bill is wrong?
If you find a mistake on your bill, you still have to settle it first. In parallel, you complain but the invoice from the provider. For example, a registered letter can be used in which you specify the customer and invoice numbers. Describe as accurately as possible what you are complaining about on the invoice.
You may only partially or completely refuse the payment in the universal service in two cases:
If your consumption is more than twice as high as in the previous billing cycle, and an error was detected on the meter during a meter check. This test is also called findings examination.
Caution: You bear the costs for such a test, if there is no error! The right of refusal for a partial amount or the complete amount of the invoice in this case only exists until the end of the examination.
If in a bill "the serious possibility of an obvious mistake exists". This is certainly the case, in our opinion, if the invoice does not contain an address of the trader, an initial and final count or an indication of the prices.
According to case law, such an error must be apparent at first glance. If there are clear calculation errors, you can at least partially refuse the payment. In addition, this can be the case with completely inexplicable increases in consumption, for example to ten times the previous year’s consumption.
In both cases, it is important to check whether at least one partial amount is legitimately invoiced. If it is clear that you have used electricity, you should at least pay the average consumption until clarification.
For special contracts, it depends on the respective terms and conditions of the provider, whether you may refuse to pay an invoice in full. Before you refuse a payment, we recommend a legal consultation.
Is correct consumption?
Check on the basis of your meter readings and – if available – the previous invoice, whether the billed consumption is correct. Note for gas: The meter measures cubic meters, billed in kilowatt hours (kWh). If you take the cubic meter at ten, you get about the number of kWh.
Has consumption been estimated? This is only possible if a reading or self-reading could not be performed. If the estimate is too high, tell your electricity or gas provider the actual meter reading so they can correct the bill.
If your consumption deviates from the consumption that you expected, only in very rare cases is the electricity or gas meter defective. Much more common are changed behavior or new devices. Even a cold winter or many winter months in a billing that does not cover a whole year, can lead to additional payments.
Only if the substantial increase in consumption is not due to your behavior, the provider must explain the values comprehensible. In case of doubt, the energy advice of your consumer center will help you to estimate a realistic consumption for you.
The price is right?
Base price and price per kilowatt hour must be the same as the contract confirmation or the latest notification of a price change. If there are deviations, research is required: scour emails, search for information on price changes in the online customer portal or search in other letters from the energy provider. You can also request a copy of the message from the utility.
If the price has changed, check if you have been informed correctly.
Your experience is important!
For the market observation from the consumer’s point of view your information and Your experiences be very valuable: We are looking for your cases from the fields Digital market, financial market and energy market.
Have your payments been credited correctly??
Verify that all your payments have been fully considered. If in doubt, compare the presentation of debits and credits on your invoice with your bank statements.
If the bonus is calculated correctly and paid out?
When switching providers, you are often offered a bonus. An instant bonus is often paid after a certain delivery time of, for example, 30 days, a new customer bonus usually credited to the first annual statement. But here it depends on the exact rules in the terms and conditions of the provider. Calculate for yourself whether the bonus is correct. If it is missing or incorrectly calculated, you should check with the supplier and insist on the credit.
Are the deductions realistic?
The monthly deductions must reflect the last annual consumption. Realistic values are obtained in this way: First, measure the number of kilowatt hours on the annual bill with the current price per kilowatt hour. Then add the so-called base price for the whole year. Finally, the resulting sum by twelve parts.
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 decrease significantly in the future, for example after the departure of a household member, your energy provider must adjust the deductions appropriately.
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 with a deadline by registered letter.
You should not reduce discounts without consulting the energy provider. Because if you cut unjustifiably, you are in default and have to bear the delay damage. This means that interest is due. Therefore you should not do this without legal advice, for example through a consumer center.
Several providers demand a much too high discount and use this tactic to obtain an interest-free loan. In some cases, the consumption is not read, but very generously estimated. However, estimates are only allowed if a reading was not possible. For estimates, read the consumption yourself and communicate the result to the provider, preferably in writing.
Claim credits immediately
If the bill shows a balance, you can always demand immediate payment. At the latest with the next discount it must be charged.
What to do if there is no bill?
Your supplier must generate the electricity or gas bill no later than six weeks after the end of the billing cycle. If your bill does not arrive on time, you should remind the supplier. This should be done for the purpose of securing evidence in writing with proof (registered letter) and with the threat of hiring additional payments. Therefore put the provider a period of at least two weeks, to fulfill his duty.
To create additional pressure, you can risk energy by initiating a conciliation procedure that is free of charge for you in front of the arbitration board.
If you then actually stop the payments, because after the deadline still no bill is received, you put money back, because as soon as the new deductions are announced with the bill, you have to pay retroactively the missing.
Tip: Search with the current bill better rates
With its own price in mind, it is easy to make a quick check on current alternatives in online comparison portals. This often shows that even with the previous provider new customers pay cheaper than you as a loyal contractor. Even a call can sometimes be enough to negotiate better conditions for you too – at the price and with the shortest possible duration. Otherwise, there is always the possibility to change the provider at the next possible time.
Whoever gets offered a new tariff together with the annual statement at the same company, should not blindly strike. Again, a search is recommended if other companies do not make even more attractive offers.
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