50,000 customers – at least that’s the figure given by the federal association of energy consumers. DEG went bankrupt at the end of last year. The mainleus market was also a DEG electricity customer.
"We were affected", confirms head of building office hans-georg busch, who speaks of a novelty. Now the municipality has to look for a new supplier. The municipal council decides who will be responsible for this.
Until then, however, no one need worry that the municipal lights will remain dark. Because with the insolvency, a substitute supply by a local provider takes effect (this also applies if private households are affected by such an insolvency). But the replacement is more expensive. "We therefore started looking at new providers two or three days after the news broke", according to busch. They try to have a new supplier the next month. Busch does not give any figures, but he excludes the possibility of a major loss due to the emergency supply. "This will not lead us to ruin."
Which provider mainleus will choose, busch can not say. He cites the direct contacts as a major advantage of a local supplier such as stadtwerke kulmbach or eon. People know each other, problems can be solved quickly by phone. With a provider like DEG, you end up with a mr. X or ms. Y on the phone.
Unlike most communities, mainleus has chosen its own electricity provider. It is common practice for municipalities in the district to participate in so-called electricity bundle tenders. The project is being carried out by the bavarian association of municipalities in cooperation with kubus gmbh for bavarian municipalities and special-purpose associations, explains the district chairman of the association of municipalities in kulmbach, gerhard schneider, who is also the mayor of himmelkron. According to schneider, the possibility of an electricity supplier becoming insolvent can never be completely ruled out. "You don’t get stuck with that."
With the exception of mainleus, no other towns and communities in the district of kulmbach are affected by the DEG bankruptcy. But it almost hit marktleugast. Because the frankenwald municipality had until 31. December 2018 a contract with DEG. "Since 1. January we have a new supplier", explains norbert taig from the market’s property management department. The switch to the other supplier was made after a regular invitation to tender, and DEG’s insolvency was not even mentioned.
In contrast, stadtwerke kulmbach – itself an energy supplier – knew about DEG’s insolvency and had a major advantage over such competitors: "we can’t go bankrupt because we are 100 percent owned by the city. That is an outstanding feature", emphasizes plant manager stephan proschold. But that’s not the only advantage he sees: "as a local company, we naturally have employees from the region who are known to the customers. That is a completely different trust relationship than calling a call center with long telephone waiting loops and always different contact persons."
And: the money earned from the sale of electricity and gas is reinvested in the region, proschold emphasizes, citing recreational facilities such as the swimming pools and the ice rink as the most important examples. "Others pay dividends to their shareholders."
The municipal utility has around 5,500 gas customers (out of 6,200 possible connections) and 7,000 electricity customers (out of 18,000). For proschold, that’s not a bad rate, especially since the municipal utility has only been on the market as an energy supplier for two years. So far, of the communities in the district, only marktschorgast is a customer. But that could change, hopes stephan proschold. Because many municipalities still had current contracts and were considering looking for a local solution after they expired. "Of course, the price also has to be right, so proschold.
This is how communities get their electricity suppliers
The bayerischer gemeindetag, in cooperation with kubus gmbh, conducts the electricity bundle tenders for many municipalities.
Consulting kubus kommunalberatung und service gmbh is a company of top municipal associations. Its mission is to provide independent consulting and services to municipalities and their institutions. This includes the tendering and conclusion of legally secure supply contracts for electricity and/or natural gas.
Goal the company’s goal is to achieve favorable electricity purchase prices for public-sector customers through the joint bidding process.
Municipal utilities stadtwerke kulmbach has only been a member of the. January 2017 as an electricity provider on the market. However, they do not participate in the tenders of the gemeindetag because they want to concentrate on the region.
This is what happens when you fight for every penny (or cent): the market town of mainleus is one of 50,000 affected customers of the bankrupt electricity provider deutsche energie gmbh.
Now please do not misunderstand: of course it is important to watch the money. This applies to private individuals as well as to companies and municipalities. But sometimes it is perhaps better to spend a little more money and not save at the wrong end. For example, when choosing an electricity supplier.
Let’s be honest: who has ever heard of deutsche energie gmbh (DEG)?? Probably the fewest. The situation is different with the major providers. Everyone should have heard of names like eon, bayernwerk or stadtwerke at some time or other. And as a customer you are on a (relatively) safe side with them. In addition to security of supply, there are personal local connections to it. And everything has its price.
What is true for electricity is also true for many other things in daily life. For example, the cell phone tariff. For example, what good is the cheapest flat rate for calling and surfing if the network coverage is poor?? Correct: nix.
Or the supposedly favorable, coarse flat-screen television, when the picture and sound are poor. You’ll be glad you spent every euro on it.
And what do we learn from the above examples? Here as there: buy cheap, get cheap.