How electric bills work in Germany

This guide explains how you pay for heating, hot water and electricity in Germany.

One home, two bills

In Germany, you get 2 power bills

  • The utilities (Nebenkosten) that are included in your warm rent
  • The electric bill from your electricity company

The Nebenkosten

Your warm rent includes the estimated cost of utilities (Nebenkosten). Heating and hot water are usually included with your rent.

Every year, your landlord calculates how much water and energy you really used, and sends you a bill (Nebenkostenabrechnung). If you paid too much Nebenkosten, you get money back. If you did not pay enough, you get an invoice.

If your apartment has a tankless water heater (Durchlauferhitzer), hot water is not included in your rent.3 Your Nebenkosten and warm rent are lower, but your electric bills are higher.

The electric bill

Your rent does not include the electricity for lights and appliances.

When you move in, you must sign a contract with an electricity company. They don’t need to connect anything. They just start charging you after you give them your meter reading.

Every month, you pay for your estimated electricity use. Every year, the electricity company asks for your electricity meter reading (Zählerstand). This tells them how much electricity you really used. If you paid too much, you get money back. If you did not pay enough, you get an invoice.

How much are the Nebenkosten?

The warm rent (Warmmiete) includes heating, water, garbage disposal and many other things. It’s usually 50€ to 200€ a month. It can be higher if your building has a garden, a gym or other facilities.

How much is the electric bill?

Use Verivox or Check24 to estimate real electricity costs.

The cost depends on how much electricity you use. Estimate 1,500 to 2,000 kWh per person.1 If your rent does not include hot water, you will use a little more electricity.

Electricity companies charge a base price, plus a fee per kWh. For example, you might pay 10€ per month, plus 0.35€ per kWh:

Base price: 10€ per month Electricity usage: 0.35€ × 125 kWh = 43.75€ Total: 53.75€ per month

How to save money

  • Switch to another electricity company every 1 or 2 years.2 You get a special price for 1 or 2 years. When the special price ends, switch to another company. Add a reminder in your calendar. Verivox automates the switch; you don’t have to do anything.
  • Compare prices with Verivox or Check24

How to save money in Germany

Sources and footnotes
  1., Screenshot