In the event of disputes with energy suppliers, consumers can turn to the energy arbitration board – and they had more to do than ever during the past crisis year. According to preliminary figures, more than 18,000 requests for arbitration were received. “For comparison: in 2021 we received around 7,700 applications,” said Managing Director Thomas Kunde of the German Press Agency based on preliminary figures. More than 3,500 applications dealt with the topic of “complained price increase” – in 2021 it was just over 1,100. Around 1,600 times last year there were special terminations due to price increases (2021: 301).

Issues that are not related to the crisis, such as meter readings and meter defects, were discussed with similar frequency in the two years compared: Almost 1,000 applications fell under “disputed consumption” in 2021, and more than 1,200 in 2022. Multiple entries of the topics are possible in the applications.

Complaints are concentrated on a few companies

The energy arbitration board is the central body for the out-of-court settlement of disputes between energy supply companies and consumers. If private consumers have unsuccessfully contacted their energy supply company with their complaint, they can enlist the help of the energy arbitration board by submitting an application for arbitration. The arbitration board was set up at the end of 2011. The number of annual applications fell from 13,700 in 2012 to around 4,900 in 2015 and fluctuated thereafter. The year 2021 was the fourth strongest year with 7700 applications.

Complaints often relate to just a few companies. Around 8,000 applications (as of November 30) from 2022 alone affect four companies or groups of companies, the arbitration board said. According to the activity report, around 1,450 applications in 2021 concerned a single utility company.