All You Need To Know About Electricity Bills in Germany

Sep 29, 2021Housing, Living in Germany

Did you just move to the new apartment in Germany and figure out how electricity bills are working? As an adult living on your own, you will have to pay bills for electricity and the hot water and heating costs either to your landlord or direct to the providers. 

Hot water and heating costs are paid directly to the landlord, while electricity to the providers. In Germany, the average annual electricity bill for single-person households is 415 EUR, while hot water and heating can cost between 50 EUR and 200 EUR per month. 

In Germany, when you live in the apartment by yourself, you will need to pay bills on your own. Tenants deal with separate bills for various services and utilities. This article explains how much electricity costs in Germany, how to calculate your bill, the average bill, and finally, how you pay it. 

Electricity and electricity bills: how does it work in Germany

Generally, rent is divided into two parts in Germany: cold (Kaltmiete) and warm rent (Warmmiete). Cold rent doesn’t include utilities like hot water and heating, and warm rent does include it. 

Furthermore, electricity is usually separated from the warm rent. Hence, tenants have to sign up with an electricity provider themselves.

That way, you will pay your electricity bills directly to the electricity provider. Thanks to the online electricity cost calculators and comparison platforms, it’s easy to find a cheap provider in Germany.

In a nutshell, people are paying two electricity bills in Germany: 

  1. One for heating and hot water
  2. Another one for all other electric needs like lighting, appliances, computers, and TV

Cost for heating and hot water are included in the warm monthly rent or Warmmiete. This rent you pay to your landlord. 

For the latter, you need to set up a separate contract with an electricity provider. You can use Verivox or Check24 to find and compare power companies in Germany.

Electricity bill in detail

The electricity bill in Germany consists of three separate parts: a base price (fixed price component), the energy price (consumption-based price component), and the electricity tax.

The bill breakdown includes:

Meter reading – Your meter information will show the date the meter was read last time, as well as your current and previous meter readings.

Thus, the billing of any electricity provider is based on the current meter reading. Meter reading is made up of two components:

  1. Basic rate: It’s a fixed amount and calculated regardless of the electricity consumption. The basic rate depends on the tariff you choose.
  2. Labor price: The labor fee is variable and covers the actual electricity consumption – including value-added tax, EEG levy, transport, and concession fee, plus transmission charges, generation charges, customer charges, and distribution charges. These charges take up the largest part of the total cost.

Consumption is billed per kilowatt-hour. The amount depends on the current kilowatt price.

Indeed, the exact numbers will depend on the provider you choose. 

Cold rent (Kaltmiete) vs warm rent (Warmmiete)

Cold rent and warm rent are two terms used constantly in Germany when listing apartments for rent. But what’s the difference?

  • Cold rent is based on size, number of rooms, furnishings, and location of the apartment
  • Warm rent consist of cold rent plus additional costs or service charges like heating and hot water

Electricity billing in Germany

When you sign for a new electricity provider in Germany, your first year’s bill will be calculated based on your estimated usage. It’s because the new provider doesn’t have a record of how much electric energy you usually use.

Your electric bill is based on your estimated usage. You can decide how much you want to pay per month. At the end of the year, if you use more electricity than you paid for, you will get an invoice. If you use less, you will get some money back.

After one year, the provider will compare your estimated usage and your actual usage. When using more electricity than the estimated usage, a client will have to pay the additional amount.

Thus, you will get some money back if the actual usage is less than estimated. The bill will be adjusted depending on your last year’s electric energy usage from the second year. 

Billing in the first year

Every time someone picks a new provider, the first year will be billed based on the estimates. After the first year, the provider will use the previous history to measure your actual electricity usage during the year.

Consequently, your provider will adjust your rate lower or higher in the new billing cycle after the first year.

How much does electricity cost in Germany?

Reports and statistics from 2020 have shown that Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe. Furthermore, the price continues to rise every year. 

Germans pay even more than Danish people, where Denmark is one of the most expensive countries in the EU.

According to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), the current electricity price in Germany is 31,94 cents per kWh (as of July 2021). 

Meaning a household with a consumption of 3,500 kWh pays 1,118 EUR in electricity expenses per year or 93,16 EUR per month. In 2020, the electricity cost per one person was about 415 EUR per year.

The electricity price ranges regionally and depends on the selected tariff. The default power supplier is significantly more expensive than selected alternative providers.

Furthermore, the electricity gets cheaper at night. Hours between midnight & 5 am are the most affordable when demand is low.

Germany’s electricity prices have increased by 70% in the past 20 years, which is primarily due to various taxes and charges. 

Around 2000, the German government has introduced five different new levies to finance the energy transition.

For example, the EEG surcharge is one of those. Consumers of regular electricity have to pay this fee to fund renewable energy producers. The EEG surcharge adds up to 6,5 cents per kilowatt-hour to your bill in 2021.

The table below shows how much the average household in Germany pays for electricity based on the yearly consumption. The price ranges due to the difference in the suppliers. 

Electricity consumption per yearExpenses
2.000 kWh564,64 € to 415,51 €
3.000 kWh819,16 € to 687,54 €
3.500 kWh955,30 € to 808,59 €
4.500 kWh1.227,10 € to 1.054,36 €
5.000 kWh1.363,00 € to 1.177,06 €

What is the average monthly electricity bill in Germany?

The average annual electricity bill for a single is 457,44 EUR, whereas families with one kid pay 935,88 EUR and 1,132 EUR with two kids.

Your monthly energy costs in Germany will depend on where you live (postal code), what type of apartment/house you live in (also size of the apartment), and how many people live with you.

In 2020, a single-person household paid about 415 EUR for the electricity.

Electricity providers charge a fixed monthly price, plus a fixed rate per kWh used. Where you might pay a fixed 10 EUR per month plus 0,32 EUR for every kWh. With the annual consumption of 1,500 kWh, you will pay:

  • 10 EUR*12 = 120 EUR
  • 1,500 kWh*0,32 EUR = 480 EUR

Therefore, the total electricity bill will be 600 EUR per year or 50 EUR per month. 

Electricity bill in the single-person household

Single households typically pay more than multiple-people homes. 

Thus, being single tends to have a negative impact on electricity consumption. When living alone, your electricity consumption is higher than sharing an apartment with someone. 

Because you pay for the common necessities like refrigerator, stove, washing machine and TV that consume all the electricity.

Single-person households consume an average of 1,400 kWh a year while living in an apartment building. Yet, with electric water heating, consumption can increase to up to 1,900 kWh.

The typical price for 1 kWh is 30 cents, so the average bill for a single household is 420 EUR. 

Furthermore, electricity consumption in a house is usually higher than in the average apartment. And if you heat water electrically (through boiler), that adds around 200 kWh per year.

Electricity bill in the two-person household

The average annual electricity consumption for a two-person household in an apartment is between 2,000 kWh and 3,000 kWh. This comes up to 50 EUR and up to 75 EUR per month or 600 EUR – 900 EUR yearly.

For someone living in the house, electricity consumption will increase to 3,000 kWh, thus, to 75 EUR per month or 900 EUR yearly. 

Electricity bill in the family household

In a household with four people, energy consumption increases to around 4,250 kWh. The bill will be about 106,25 EUR per month or 1,275 EUR yearly. 

Yet, families living in the apartment consume less electricity – on an average, 3,000 kWh per year. Hence, the annual bill is only 900 EUR or 75 EUR per month. 

Electricity consumption per year

The average electricity consumption of German households depends on the number of people living in the house or apartment.

Yet, the average electricity consumption per capita across Germany is around  1,770 kWh.

Electricity consumption in the standard German apartment: 

Household sizeLow consumptionMedium consumptionHigh consumption
1-person800 to 1,200 kWh800 to 1,200 kWh1.600 to 2.000 kWh
2-person1.200 to 1.800 kWh1.800 to 2.500 kWh2.500 to 3.000 kWh 
3-person1,500 to 2,200 kWh2,200 to 3,000 kWh3,000 to 3,700 kWh
4-person1,700 to 2,500 kWh2,500 to 3,500 kWh3,500 to 4,100 kWh

A typical electricity cost in Germany is:

  • One-person household: 40EUR/month
  • Two-person household: 65EUR/month

How to calculate your electricity bill?

Your monthly energy costs will depend on where you live, what type of residence you live in, and how many people live with you.

The bill amount is based on the electricity consumption in the previous consumption year. Therefore, depending on how high your consumption was in the last year, the payments for the coming year will be lower or higher. 

If you have paid too much or too little, you will be charged or refunded at the end of the contract year.

The quickest and easiest way to determine electricity consumption is to read the electricity meter.

Every household in Germany has an electricity meter, which is either already installed or must be installed by the property management company or owner.

It’s advisable to read your personal electricity consumption every month to determine the total at the end of a consumption year. This gives you an overview of how much electricity you consume month to month.

Reading up the meter and doing some simple calculations will help you to determine the expected amount of the upcoming electricity bill or check the accuracy of your last annual bill. 

For this, you only need an electricity price including basic and energy prices and the exact electricity consumption for the year or month.

You can calculate your electricity costs in three simple steps.

  1. Check your electricity price

Electricity rates are made up of the basic and consumption prices, also called the energy price. The basic price is a fixed rate, e.g., 8,90 EUR, that is charged monthly regardless of consumption.

The energy price is calculated in cents per kWh and depends on your individual electricity consumption and provider. Both price components are listed in the contract with the power provider. 

2. Determine your electricity consumption

The easiest and most accurate way to determine a household’s electricity consumption is to keep track of meter readings. The meter reading is also listed in the bill.

3. Calculate electricity consumption and the total bill

Once you have determined your annual consumption, all you have to do is multiply this number by the price for kWh (which is specified by the provider) and add the base price of your electricity rate. 

This way, you can forecast or check your electricity bill.

Example:

Electricity providers charge a fixed monthly price, plus a fixed rate per one kWh used. For example, you might pay a fixed 10 EUR per month plus 0,32 EUR for every kWh. With the annual consumption of 1,500 kWh, you will pay:

  • 10 EUR*12 = 120 EUR
  • 1,500 kWh*0,32 EUR = 480 EUR

Therefore, the total electricity bill will be 600 EUR per year or 50 EUR per month. 

How to pay the electricity bill in Germany?

When it comes to paying your electricity bills in Germany, you will probably receive a bill every month or two months, depending on the provider.

During the first year, your bills are based on the estimated consumption. However, by providing regular meter readings, you can lower the bill in the future. 

So how should you pay for it? Most people in Germany pay their electricity bills via automatic or regular bank transfer.

It’s very straightforward to set up such payments through your bank or on the mobile banking app. Need a German bank account with a great mobile app? Check out DKB or Bunq.

Save money on electricity bills

As you have learned, Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe. Fortunately, there are some ways how you can save a buck on your bill. 

1. Find a cheap provider

Firstly we recommend signing with the affordable power provider from the start. To find the cheapest electricity provider, you can use tools like Verivox and Check24. They will show all providers available in Germany, their rates, and your estimated monthly costs. 

In fact, Check24 has over 1,000 various service providers in comparison with more than 10,000 rates.

Overall, there are more than 1,300 electricity providers in Germany. Some of them operate nationwide, while some others only in certain regions. The rates can vary drastically. Thus, it makes sense to shop around and find the best deal.

At the same time leading electricity suppliers in Germany are :

How to use Verivox and Check24 to find the cheapest provider?

  1. Select Strom Vergleich
  2. Enter your postal code & number of persons and estimated consumption of the household
  3. Define some criteria like:
    • Contract duration (Vertragslaufzeit), usually 3 to 24 months.
    • Termination term
    • Type of energy – renewable or not
  4. Select the offer
  5. Enter your details on the platform. This includes payment details. Often, only German bank accounts are accepted.
  6. Receive confirmation via email.
  7. Receive confirmation from the new provider via email or by post.

2. Conduct a home energy audit

It makes sense to take a few minutes to understand how many kWhs of energy your daily appliances and devices are using. 

3. Switch providers regularly

Furthermore, switching your current electricity provider can save you money too. You might also want to do it every year. Furthermore, as a new customer, you will receive a sweet bonus between 50 EUR and 100 EUR.

According to the statistics, a provider switch can save customers up to 250 EUR a year. Use Verivox and Check24 for find a new supplier. 

Why is electricity so expensive in Germany?

In 2020, for the second year in a row, electricity prices in Germany were the highest in Europe. In 2021, the average price for one kWh is 31,94 cents (as of July 2021).

The reason behind the high cost of energy in Germany is a country’s transition from fossil fuels and atomic energy to renewable energy sources. 

This change results in a significant increase in the price. Furthermore, this transition is funded with levies and taxes paid by Germany’s citizens and companies. 

The electricity price is made up of taxes for the biggest part. Where surcharges and levies currently account for around 55% of the electricity price, network charges for approximately 25%, and the actual generation and procurement of electricity for only around 20%.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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