KMCGators asked this question 6 years, 10 months ago:

Utilities Dillemma

So, I have been here about a month and moved into my place in December. I have serious questions about the utiliites and that someone, anyone with similiar experiences can help me out by possibly dumbing it down for me. I don't want to move, but as it stands right now I don't really understand the electric setup, because it is not in anyway standard to what other people are doing. So briefly, the setup to the story.

Arrived mid November, inked a contract on a new freestanding house that is a little far away, because well nothing else was really available for my 5 person family and we wanted to live "in Germany". I decided I can deal with the commute if everything else is great. Here comes the utility question. My discussions with the landord aren't clear because though he speaks English, we just can't connect on what exactly the setup is. Housing has been less then helpful, and assured me when signing the housing contract that it was perfectly normal and legit.

So I signed a housing contract that stated I paid the following to the landlord: 50 electric, 30 heat, 150 water, 18 garbage, 50 gargage, 20 other. All estimates, which means to landord?not metered. Nowhere else on the lease did I sign to pay utliities/metered to anyone else. There is solar involved. The 50/30/elect/heat are paid to the landlord for "use of PV panels". So being in rainy/not sunny Germany, I quickly realized that there is no way I am getting that much electriciy from the PV and am going to need Pfalzewerke regular electric. So I pay 80 euro a month to my LL (which I can't UTAP) from what I use? And then pay a seperate utility to Pfalzwerke which wasn't on my orignal housing contract. Seperately, about 3 weeks after moving in my LL pushed and additional contract, in German, to me regarding the 50/30, which I told him I wasn't signing till I have it translated.

All this coupled with the fact, that I have this scientific lab super new floor heating setup that I don't understand how read. I am just wanting some help possibly understanding it from someone that knows these setups well.

This might very well be an efficient good deal for me and everything is on the up and up, but I just can't see it. I would rather just pay straight to Pfalzwerke and let him sell his "PV power" back to the electric company likem most PV installers.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.



6 years, 10 months ago

That's a little strange. We had a real estate agent involved, and while we paid him A LOT, he setup everything for us from utilities, to garbage, to water, etc. We pay our rent for the house and the garage to the landlord and that is it. We don't pay him for any utilities. We also have Solar, but generally the deal is the elec. co pays for the install (maybe parts too??), but they get the power for 10 years and the house doesn't get any of it.

What part of the flooring setup are you having trouble with? The thermostats?

You probably have, but tell your LL you feel like you are paying for Utilities twice. Seems fishy to me as well.

6 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the reply. How you explained is the standard solar set up explained to me by every German I've talked to. The jist of what I understand is what I use from the LL solar (80€) is reconciled annually as normal electric is should i use more/less. I don't think I'm using very much, but I can't read the dang multiple meters. Somewhere it is said that since I have this solar deal, I get the better tariff on my Pfalzwerke power, but I just cant figure out exactly what I'm paying. I have a triple meter that reads 1.8.1, 1.8.2, & 2.8.0 which as far as Google chrome translating German to bad English means daytime, nighttime, negative power?? There is also a separate one reading meter beside it which I think is solar usage (also 2.8.0). I also don't get how the heat/plays into the pricing (it also has a meter, waremenpumpe) I have no separate heating bill except xor the 30of80€ to LL ie no gas/oil. All I know running the numbers as I understand them and I'm already at near 300 USD and its the 23rd plus I keep the house relatively freezing and have no electronics to speak of as HHG has not been delivered.

As far as the floor setup, besides not knowing where it factors in bill wise, I don't really understand how to use it. There is a main display which is set to 21C and individual thermostats in each room labeled snowflake,2,3,4,5 which have come to learn means 10,20, etc Celsius. So I set it to 21 and that's what the water is at constant and setting a room to 3 raises it 9 degrees in that room? I've just been pretty much keeping them on 2 and sweatering up.

The set up is brand new so I figured I was moving in to a super efficient brand new house, am I sorely mistaken?

Sorry so long, but there's alot going on in here. Thanks for the time.

6 years, 10 months ago

Those numbers are not degrees. Snowflake is pretty much off and 6 is pretty much hot as it will go. Mine are pretty much around the middle number or on mine the circle - which is about 79 degrees. In the bathrooms I have them on 5 or 6 depending on the temps outside.

Floor heating is very efficient and cheaper than other forms of heating.

6 years, 10 months ago

Bergman,

Thanks for the reply. If you don't mind me asking, how is your electric bill structured or do have another source of heating besides floorheating. Happy Holiday.

6 years, 10 months ago

Quote by KMCGators:
Bergman,

Thanks for the reply. If you don't mind me asking, how is your electric bill structured or do have another source of heating besides floorheating. Happy Holiday.


Happy holidays to you as well. The floors are not electric. They are radiated heat from water. There's actually pipes in the floor full of water which are heated by gas or oil. I think gas if you have a new house but if it's in the county it might also be oil.

6 years, 10 months ago

See mine is straight electric geothermal type I think. Electric pump pulls up water from the earth. No gas or oil involved, so I am trying to figure our which meter to read and what kWh rate I'm being charged.

6 years, 10 months ago

Quote by KMCGators:
See mine is straight electric geothermal type I think. Electric pump pulls up water from the earth. No gas or oil involved, so I am trying to figure our which meter to read and what kWh rate I'm being charged.


Ahhhh....I did not realize that. If that's the case, your utilities should be pretty close to free with the exception of electric. If the landlord owns the solar system then whatever is not used goes back to the electric company...you already know that though. The utilities seems a little high to me.

Trash at 18.00 is correct. Mine is 17.95 direct from the trash company. Gas is about 180 and electric is 60 a month. No fancy geothermal system.

6 years, 8 months ago

I felt like this deserved an update in case anyone else encounters this craziness since I have yet in 4 months through my many visits to housing, legal, internet, the homeless down the street, etc. etc. have come up with a great answer.

I think I got it partially figured out to the best of my ability so anyone with the same situation reading, don't take this as gospel... YMMV.

The LL got in with the solar late in the game ('12) and now the companies aren't paying back so much for the power produced, so he he wants to sell his power to the tenant. Fine I get it, if I use the power from the solar I should pay for it. But at what kWh rate? The same I would get from the electric company (PW) if I bought straight from them? That is what I am being told but have yet to have seen this in anything other than an email after I requested it.

I moved into the house with many questions about this to housing, when only 50 and 30 euro was marked in the Strom/Heizung blocks. Housing assured me everything was okay with this and even contacted the LL. Shortly later, I had to meet with a meter guy to get standard utilities in my name. I kind of figured, but this was no where on the HRO contract. And now I am wondering was/am I even legally responsible to pay this or was I duped. Also, the LL pushed a German Language contract to me weeks after moving in that stated something about I get to use only >50% of the power produced or something happens (highers kWh rate possibly, still unclear). I told the LL I was going get Legal to look at anything before I signed it. After getting rude customer service and taking over a month to look at it, Legal did and pretty much could only tell me what I already knew it said, that I could use X% and would pay X euro est and that would be reconciled like other utilities normal people pay that way. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. After much research I have learned, I think, to read the 4 meters that now one is tracking, not even PW through UTAP contact (the only helpful office).

Long story, short I'm out of this joint. The fuzzy facts are this, you may get a lower normal rate vs. a house without Solar installed for your off the grid usage which will be your primary because well I've seen the sun twice since I moved to Germany in November (I think that part is true), but you will also pay to the landlord at supposedly that same rate. Something happens when you go over your % of usage which if I had to guess has, that percentage has something to do with taxes for the LL. Also, someone I know with the same setup got the same contract with different % numbers. Hmmmmm

I have given 30 days notice and will be moving to comparable house closer to base with standard UTAPable gas heat. I may end up paying more but the uncertainty and lack of explanation will certainly make it worth it. The fact that so much was done outside of the original housing contract and there was no help from housing was unbelievable. If this was happening to one of my younger naive subordinates, which I am sure it does, I would be on someones desk.

Now the only question I have after no luck on google, this site, or reading the German Tenant Law is paying the rent prior to vacating. I put notice in somewhere after the first of the month. I understand my contractual obligation unlike these people who try to do so much outside of it. It makes sense to me that I am only on the hook for the # of days percentage wise my 30 takes me into the next month ((rent/31)*#days) or utnil the day before someone else rents it. Please tell me this is true and the feeling I get that they will try to get me to pay for a month I was only partial here fulfilling my 30 day commitment won't come to fruition.

Thanks a bunch guys/gals!

/semi rant over

6 years, 8 months ago

Normally the 30 days is if you have orders to PCS. If you are leaving just because "want" if could be different. When I sauce want I meant you need to move due to the shady stuff that's gong on...

6 years, 8 months ago

The housing contract just says 15 days for unscheduled PCS or 30 days for moving on base or to "other economy" quarters. The latter of which I am doing. The contract I had was not tied to time thereby being month to month. The LL started showings the day after I notified, while annoying, we helped every morning by being up and being locked to the house all day. I am not concerned with paying out my obligation to the 30 days, I just want to figure out the right rate to pay. In the states you would prorate any month either moving in in the middle or out in the middle. After all this heartache, I ain't paying full rent if I only stay here 8 days and have given proper notice. So ((rent/31)*#days) seems right and I just wanted to know anyone else's experience with moving out at a point other than the last day.

6 years, 8 months ago

The policy for calculating rent is based on 30 days no matter how many days are in the month.

Take base rent plus utilities paid to LL and decide by 30. Then multiply by the number of days you'll be in the home next month.

Example

1200 rent
90 water
25 garbage
20 other fees.

1335€ total /30= 44.50€ per day.

44.50€ x 8= 356.00€ for the month.

Good luck!

6 years, 8 months ago

Robert Mitchell,

Thanks. That is what I though because it makes sense for all parties, I pay for what I use given proper notice. But after all this, I just wanted to make sure cause a lot of things haven't made sense. BTW, is this in writing anywhere. My rental contract just says LL right to payment ceases the day after vacation or another move in, but makes no note about calculation. I've also scoured every bit of the BGB looking for answers. Thanks again.

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