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"2023 begins with a massive wave of price increases for electricity"

Price increases from their electricity suppliers have recently fluttered into many households – with sometimes drastic increases.

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"2023 begins with a massive wave of price increases for electricity"

Price increases from their electricity suppliers have recently fluttered into many households – with sometimes drastic increases. For example, the Cologne-based company Rheinenergie will charge more than twice as much per kilowatt hour as of January for the basic supply: around 55 cents will be due there in the future, almost 130 percent more than before.

Rheinenergie is not an isolated case: "The new year begins with a massive wave of price increases for electricity," says Thorsten Storck, the energy expert at the comparison portal Verivox. Basic suppliers would now have to gradually pass on the higher market prices to their customers.

Rheinenergie refers to the high procurement costs, which are increasingly reflected in the company's long-term purchasing strategy. "Compared to the previous year, the prices on the electricity exchanges have risen by more than 300 percent, at the top they had increased more than tenfold. In addition, the network fees are also increasing,” the company explains the price jump.

The extreme rise in gas prices as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is considered to be one of the main reasons for the rise in electricity prices. In wholesale trading, the now expensive generation of electricity from gas-fired power plants often determines the price of electricity for all other types of generation.

The comparison portal Check24 has already become aware of more than 580 cases of electricity price increases in the basic supply at the turn of the year. The increases amount to an average of 60.5 percent. Verivox comes to an average plus of 54 percent because of a different data basis.

"The electricity price increases at the turn of the year are sometimes drastic," says Udo Sieverding, the energy expert at the consumer center in North Rhine-Westphalia. "Unfortunately, the tariffs for new customers via the brokerage portals are even higher, so switching providers does not bring any savings in most tariff areas." This is only likely to change in the course of the next few months. Customers in the basic service therefore currently have no choice.

"In the event of price increases, customers outside of the basic service should even consider making use of their special right of termination and falling into the basic service," advises the consumer advocate. The basic service tariff used to be considered a rather expensive tariff. In some places it is already below the special tariffs of other providers. However, the consumer advice center emphasizes that it is not possible to switch to the basic service tariff outside of your own basic service area.

The price increases at the beginning of the year vary greatly across NRW. For example, the regional supplier Stadtwerk Energie Ostwestfalen-Lippe (Detmold) increased its price by 27 percent to 39.5 cents per kilowatt hour. But you can't switch there now: "Unfortunately, we will not be offering an offer for electricity at the moment," says the homepage. Stadtwerke Münster will increase the basic supply tariff by 20 percent to 38.6 cents on February 1st. Stadtwerke Düsseldorf had already increased the basic supply by 39 percent to 33.52 cents per kilowatt hour on November 1st.

The electricity price brake is intended to cushion the burden of high electricity prices. In the case of households and small companies, the price for 80 percent of the previous year's consumption should be capped at 40 cents per kilowatt hour. If the customer consumes more, he pays the normal contract price. This should give an incentive to save. The suppliers should take the electricity price brake into account in the deductions from March. The brake should then also apply retrospectively to January and February. Many details still need to be clarified before the corresponding law can be passed.

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