Call our energy hotline
Compare all electricity rates hereh
Some things you should know!
There are a number of things about electricity and power supply consumers should know – but often don’t. Among other things these include some basics on electricity supply in Germany and a number of its legal aspects. We’re happy to inform you.
Basics on electricity supply in Germany
Let’s start off with some basics: The term “German power grid” denotes the entirety of the network for electricity transmission in Germany. This energy network can be divided in extremely high, high, medium and low voltage power lines. The German network has a total size of about 1.6 million kilometers. The electrical grid can be further subdivided into the networks of various large electricity providers –smaller providers without their own grids may share these lines. For instance, RWE’s electrical lines account for about 350,000 kilometers of the German grid and supply some 7.5 million households with electricity. It is therefore not surprising that electricity providers invest nearly half of all investments, some 28 billion euro, in the maintenance and expansion of power lines alone.
How does electricity reach my outlet?
Electricity’s path from the power plant where it was generated to your power outlet takes it through various voltage levels. The distinction is made between extremely high, high, middle and low voltage lines. Extremely high power lines may be seen as energy highways where electricity with 220,000 or 380,000 volts is transmitted long distances. With 120,000 from round 360,000 kilometers, RWE has the longest extremely high voltage grid in Germany. Before electricity can be transmitted further via the high voltage grid it must be transformed to high voltage (110,000 volts) in so-called substations. Large industrial areas and railways take their power directly from this grid. Substations also have capacities to transform high voltage to medium voltage (about 20,000 to 10,000 volts). This electricity is then transmitted on to cities and localities. Smaller industrial and large commercial businesses take their power from medium voltage lines. Finally, a local substation transforms medium voltage to low voltage (400 or 230 volts), which supplies households and businesses with the energy they need. Low voltage electricity is transmitted mainly via buried lines.
How the price of electricity is configured
Electricity supply is divided into two types, commercial, which may only be used by business enterprises, and private electricity. To get a better idea of how the price of electricity for private households is configured it helps to take a closer look at individual components. First, there is the kilowatt-hour rate, which accounts for the use-based part of the total price. This means that this amount is calculated from the actual electricity consumption in kilowatt hours by multiplying the hourly rate by the number of hours. Then there is the supply price, which is independent of actual power consumption. This rate is calculated from a number of different services, including the provider’s delivery readiness, measuring equipment (electricity meter and fittings), meter reading and invoicing. How these two price components are compounded will vary depending on the rate. Sometimes one will find providers with very affordable kilowatt hour rates, but their fixed costs will be far too high. To help find your way in this often foggy world of rates, electricity provider comparisons are the best option. Services such as ours provide crucial information on rates and offers so you can make the best energy provider choice. Your own electricity consumption is a reliable indicator for the search. Additionally, there are some flat rate options. Generally this means a certain amount of electricity is offered annually at a usually affordable rate. However, consumers are advised to read the fine print because exceeding this power allotment can often prove exceedingly costly.
Power supply in Germany is guaranteed
Consumers who wish to switch their electricity provider often worry whether doing so will lead to long, stressful power outages. It will not! In German law there is a provision stating that paying consumers must receive electricity continuously. In emergency situations, a default utility company provides power. Due to this legal foresight, consumers in Germany go without electricity annually on average a mere 28 minutes. This half-hour is usually accounted for by power outages caused by the weather or due to a grid overload.