The Stadtwerke Duisburg customer received the final bill for 2023 at the beginning of March. The energy supplier wanted a whopping 8,000 euros from the surprised pensioner. But the 78-year-old fought the bill, checked his gas meter, looked at older bills and finally found a crucial error that caused his gas bill to skyrocket.

Although he contacted City Services and they corrected the error, City Services debited the claim from his account. This time too, pensioner Hans-Use K. reacted correctly, had the direct debit withdrawn and contacted the energy supplier again.

It is not an isolated case. For months now, consumer protection centers across Germany have been complaining about incorrect bills that customers receive from energy suppliers. The culprits are simple miscalculations, but also big mistakes that companies make. Gas, electricity and district heating receivers are equally affected. There are also always problems with utility bills.

This way you protect yourself from costly billing errors

If you received an unexpectedly high bill from your energy provider and want to take action, you can find detailed instructions here:

Review the invoice carefully

  • Compare current billing data to the previous year. Pay special attention to the indicated consumption, the unit price and any changes in rates or rates.
  • Compare your current meter readings with the information on your last bill to make sure your billed usage is correct.
  • Gas meters measure consumption in cubic meters (m³), but are billed in kilowatt hours (kWh). For an approximate conversion, the number of cubic meters can be multiplied by ten to obtain an approximate value in kWh.
  • Investigate whether there were applicable price controls for 2023 and whether they were applied correctly.
  • Also consider whether there have been significant changes in your consumption patterns that could explain the size of the bill.

Has consumption been estimated? Then the following applies:

  • Make sure your bill contains a visually highlighted reference to estimated consumption. The law requires that such notices be clearly visible to transparently inform consumers of the billing method.
  • Upon request, the supplier must provide you with a detailed written explanation of how it arrived at its consumption estimate. This declaration must include all factors and methods used to estimate your consumption.

Contact the energy supplier

  • Please contact your energy provider directly with your questions and concerns. Have your customer number and invoice handy so you can go into specific details.
  • If you notice any discrepancies, you can formally object to the invoice. Check with your provider for the exact procedure; As a general rule, such objections must be submitted in writing.

Contact consumer protection centers

  • Take advantage of offers from local consumer protection centers or energy advice centers. They often offer free or low-cost consultations.
  • Find out about possible class action lawsuits planned regarding district heating or other energy issues. There may be an opportunity to join such demands.

Clarify details about the payment method.

  • Please note the payment deadline indicated on the invoice. Talk to your provider if it is possible to temporarily suspend or adjust payments until the problems are resolved.
  • If you have discovered an error on your invoice, it might also make sense to contact your bank to suspend or cancel an existing direct debit mandate.

Save letters and invoices and make copies :

  • Carefully keep all relevant letters and invoices. These documents are important to prove your case if any discrepancies arise.
  • Make copies of all important documents. It is advisable to make physical and digital copies to ensure you have a replacement in case the original is lost.

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