For months, consumer advocates have been trying to persuade customers in Germany to switch electricity providers. So far more or less in vain, Germans are lazy about change. Now the renewed attempt, supported by the Minister of the Environment and the energy giants – because they want to increase their prices again.
Billen knows how to save electricity and thus cash money. "Blow-dry shorter and wash at 40 degrees instead of 60," explains Germany's top consumer protector. Who additionally switches off the stand-by function at the television and exchanges some bulbs by energy energy-savings lamps, could save per year approximately 65 euro. Together with Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), who accuses the electricity companies of "robbing the incomes" of citizens, Billen called on consumers in Berlin on Monday to change their electricity provider.Starting this week, the federal association of consumer centers wants to advertise for this again nationwide with posters. In free information sheets the change is to be explained besides. Families in particular could save a lot of money by choosing a new electricity provider. Between 50 and 240 euros it could be annually, he calculates.
"The right answer: change of supplier"
At the turn of the year, 318 electricity suppliers nationwide would raise their prices. He said the increases averaged 8 to 10 percent, and in some cases reached as high as 25 percent. The reason of the higher purchase costs always mentioned by the offerers considers Billen for faked. In nearly all cities there are meanwhile offerers, who are more favorable than the basic supplier. "The right answers to electricity prices that continue to rise remain switching suppliers and saving energy," Billen said."What is taking place here is a grab for the pay packet," Gabriel was outraged by the announced price increases. This would be the second round of "performanceless profits" after the free allocation of pollution allowances. The consumers he called to change the offerer. "I can say from my own experience, it's pretty easy," the minister confessed as a changer.
Tips for saving electricity
Although only around seven to eight percent of private electricity consumers have so far changed their supplier, Billen said he was pleased that more and more consumers were making use of the option. The federal net agency had prognosticated a doubling of the change numbers for 2007 in the comparison to the previous year. The large power companies also contributed to this, working on their bad image with ever new price increases and power plant margins. "Every change is worthwhile – for your own wallet and for competition," Billen added.Billen has a number of tips on how to save electricity. The installation of an economical circulating pump for gas or oil heating, for example, reduces the electricity bill by up to 240 euros per year. Who replaces the old refrigerator by a highly efficient equipment, comes over the entire service life approximately 200 euro more favorably of it. But with the shorter blow-drying times, the potential savings for him are limited, Billen admitted, pointing to his really short short hairstyle.