The electricity supplier cannot compare incompatible tariffs

The electricity supplier presented on its own website the price tariff and compared it with the tariffs of other local suppliers. However, it turned out that this type of tariff comparison is like comparing apples with pears, as the entrepreneur used the night tariff rates as of a local public utility as a reference point. At the request of the Competition Center, the Berlin Regional Court issued the following judgment:

This type of tariff comparison is misleading for two reasons.

The content of the website did not show that, as part of the comparison, the supplier chose the entity that offered the double tariff. In this type of tariff, energy consumption is measured on two different meters. This way, energy consumption during the day and the night is taken into account. The Court considered that it was not for the consumer to check that the comparison applies to equivalent tariffs.

In addition, the Court also found that it misleading that only daytime electricity rate was taken into account in the comparative calculations and the more favourable night rate offered by the competitor was omitted. The tariff comparison should take into account the resulting differences.

The energy supplier in question was obliged to refrain from comparing tariffs this way. In the case, the supplier was found to have violated § 5 (misleading activities) and § 6 (misleading comparative advertising) of the German Act against unfair competition.

  • Judgment of the Berlin Regional Court of 25 September 2019, file reference number 15 O 504/18