Energy debts for electricity and gas

Energy debts: For people on low incomes, electricity and heating costs are a huge burden.

Many people are unable to pay their electricity and heating costs due to their low income. To make matters worse, prices are rising – also for energy . One reason for this increase is the price trend for liquid fuels (heating oil and fuels).

In addition, electricity is nowhere as expensive for private customers in Europe as it is in Germany – except in Denmark. Traders expect a further increase in prices.

Thus , the problem of households’ energy debts is becoming increasingly important . Because people with little income have hardly any opportunity to use savings potential for the following reasons:

  • As a rule, they can not afford new energy-efficient household appliances .
  • In many apartments, the heaters are outdated or the apartments in poor condition.
  • In addition, many people have little knowledge about energy efficiency and can not assess how they can save electricity, gas or water through their own behavior.

Not every low-income or low-income consumer must fall into the debt trap. Nevertheless, the energy costs are a high financial burden .

Prerequisites for a blockage of the basic supply in case of energy debts

An impending debt, if not over-indebtedness , due to unmanageable electricity or gas costs is far from the only problem. The affected person may also “turn off the tap”. Thus, according to § 19 para. 2 of the Basic Supply Ordinance for Electricity Customers (StromGVV) in the case of electricity debts, the power supply can be interrupted.

However, such is only permissible under the following conditions :

  • Late payment of the customer
  • Consumers must have at least 100 euros in electricity debts.
  • informal warning of the energy supplier with threat of a lock
  • The energy lock may only be made four weeks after the lock threat has been received.
  • Three days before the start of the lock, this must be announced again.
  • no disproportion of the lock

Gas supply interruptions are subject to similar conditions . These result from the basic supply regulation for gas.

The contract between the energy supplier and the customer continues despite the block . This means that charges continue to be incurred .

Disproportionate blocking despite energy debts

An energy barrier – whether electricity or gas – should never be disproportionate. Here, the utilities are obliged to check the reasonableness of the lock in each individual case. A disproportionality is especially in the following cases :

  • In the household live small children, the sick, disabled or old people or pregnant women .
  • The persons living in the household are threatened with damage to health through the barrier.
  • By the lock the livelihood is endangered , z. B. because the person concerned can not pursue their homework without the energy supply or their thesis can not finish writing.
  • Especially in winter, lines can freeze and break if blocked.
  • Also, a full freezer , which feeds the entire family, can justify the unreasonableness of the lock.

What can debtors do in the event of imminent suspension?

If you receive a blackmail warning because of your energy debts, you should not ignore them. Otherwise, one day you will really be “in the dark” if your supplier turns off electricity or gas. To avert the lock, you have several options:

If you have been threatened with a ban on energy debts, write to the energy provider why it is disproportionate.

  • Briefly explain in writing to your energy provider why a ban imposed on you is disproportionate and how you want to pay for your energy debts and running costs in a reasonable amount of time. Even a sufficient payment prospect excludes a delivery lock.
  • Recipients of social benefits under the Social Security Code Second Book (SGB II) or SGB XII may apply to the competent authority ( Jobcenter ) for a takeover of the energy debts as a loan . This applies z. B. for Hartz-4 recipients and incapacitated and Sozialleistungsemfänger in old age.
  • If the energy supplier rejects an installment agreement or discontinues supply despite disproportion, an application for a preliminary injunction may be filed with the District Court .
  • Under certain circumstances, offers a change of electricity or gas supplier . However, you have to expect the new utility to check your credit rating .
  • If you also have debts with other creditors , you have the option of settling them in the context of out-of-court debt settlement. If this fails, a private insolvency proceedings can be applied for.

In the case of energy debts, immediately contact a public debt counselor or a debt counselor. They can advise you comprehensively on the topic and work with you to find a viable way out of the debt trap.