Energy market liberalization in Germany

In Germany, the energy market was opened up to free competition in 1998 (9 years before France).

Update: Jan 2013

On websites such as  or you can compare the offers of the various providers.

Despite its rapidity and extent, this liberalization hasn’t yet showed the advantages expected by the German consumers. The steady rise in energy prices in Germany demonstrates this clearly and has caused sharp reactions among consumer associations, industrialists and the German government.

Consumer associations criticize the lack of competition on the German energy market. Four big companies own 90% of the market: E.ON, RWE, Vattenfall, and EnBW; the first two sharing 2/3 of the market. Competition between these four giants seem almost non-existent, so that the consumer‘s interest in changing energy providers has declined.

Moreover, a distortion of competition is caused by the excessively high taxes (that are approx. 2 to 3 times higher than rates charged in the other European countries) charged by these four companies to the smaller competing suppliers for using their distribution networks.

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