How to switch to a cheaper utilities provider in the Czech Republic

Many people don’t realize they have a choice when it comes to gas and electricity – or that changing providers can slash costs considerably.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 06.05.2021 12:30 (updated on 07.05.2021)

in cooperation with

Many of us living in the Czech Republic stay with the same electricity and gas provider year after year, never realizing that a simple switch of providers could slash household costs considerably.

Homeowners choose their own utility services from multiple suppliers on the Czech market including major companies and smaller providers. For renters, landlords handle utilities as part of the lease, and while you can ask your Czech landlord to change they aren't obligated to do so.

If it makes good financial sense, however, your landlord may be more likely to oblige. Here's our step-by-step guide on how to make a switch that can help you get a better rate on your utilities whether you're a homeowner or a renter.

Know the key terms

The distributor is the distribution system operator. They ensure the connection of consumption points, installation of meters, and meter readings. The distributor cannot be chosen. It is assigned automatically depending on the customer’s geographic location. The price for the services of the distribution system operator are set by the ERÚ (Czech Energy Regulatory Office).

The supplier is the entity from which you buy electricity or gas. Suppliers determine the price at which they sell the commodity, though there is some regulation from the ERÚ. This is where you can compare companies and potentially save money.

Calculate the savings

Before you commit to switching, you should determine what exactly the savings will be. Online calculators for electricity and gas are offered by many suppliers. Using the rates and levels of consumption from your current bills, you can see what you would save with a new provider. All of the providers of utilities are included in the online calculators of the Czech Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ).

TIP: Some alternative suppliers such as Ray Energy, which operates across the Czech Republic, have their own online calculators for gas and electric, and can provide support over email for customers planning a change.

Find the right tariff for your needs

Choosing the right tariff is essential to saving money. There are several common tariffs for electricity, which makes comparing prices easier. The categories are based on the overall consumption in MWh. The basic rates are the basic D01d and standard D02d, for households that use electricity for basic needs such as lighting and appliances, but not for heating. The price remains the same throughout the day.

There used to be a tariff called “night current” (noční proud), with different rates for night and day, but that has been replaced with other more specific packages. Unless you qualify for some special tariff the cost of energy and running your appliances is the same during the day or at night.

Tariffs are assigned to each offtake point on the basis of an inspection report, after an on-site technology check, and vary according to the technology used and the power input. If the property is an apartment or office with classic appliances such as a gas or electric stove, washing machine or television, the standard tariff applies. However, changing the type of heating your appliance uses (electric boiler instead of gas, installing a heat pump) or purchasing an electric car and setting up a charging station is a fundamental change.

Check your connection point

As you are looking for a new utility provider, you should consider checking your connection point (household or office) tariff as well. It's not possible to change upon request, but you may be entitled to a "revizní zpráva" (certificate of technical revision) from a distributor company technician. In case you've recently changed the heating system at your address (switching from gas to electric heater) or recently installed a heating pump. An electric car entitles you for a special tariff with cheaper energy (per kWh) during non-peak hours of the day (and especially night). Your fixed payment for being connected might increase while price per 1kWh could be reduced significantly.

TIP: Ray Energy also offers natural gas (plyn) with monthly plans based on consumption, and combined plans for both gas and electric. As with electricity, gas prices are subject to some regulation.

Make the change

Changing suppliers, once you reach a decision, can be done with an online form. Every legal resident of the Czech Republic can end a utilities contract. You do not heed a long-term residency (trvalý pobyt).

The time it takes to make the change depends on whether you have an indefinite or a fixed-term contract. On a contract for an indefinite period most suppliers require a standard three-month notice period. For fixed-term contracts, usually ended after one or two years, it depends on the specific cancellation terms.

The new supplier must be informed of the end date so there is no period without service.

If the previous tenant had their services discontinued, there is an additional fee of CZK 1,500 to CZK 2,000 to hook up the electric and gas meters again. The wiring and circuit breakers or fuse boxes also have to meet minimum standards for service to be provided. The supplier can decline to serve a customer that has insufficient wiring.

Billing after changing suppliers

Most customers agree with the suppler for combined electricity and gas supply services, and receive a single bill issued by the supplier. This bill includes both regulated payments and the business component of the price. The supplier will then make regulated payments for you to distributor.

Bills are based on actual meter readings, regardless of the supplier. Estimated bills are created after the change of provider, based on information from the meters supplied by the customer. After that, the meters are read on a regular basis. The dates are determined by the distributor, not the supplier the customer uses. Bills are then based on the actual readings.

Customers are encouraged to keep track of the meter readings on the day when service is switched over.

Bills can be paid by bank transfer or similar method. Billing can also be arranged via SIPO, a combined bill that can include your rent, basic utilities, and television fees. You can sign up for it at the post office.

What happens if the supplier faces difficulties?

In any case, you cannot be left without energy supplies. Ray Energy, for example, is supplier that is a subject of settlement. If any problems arise, all customers would be automatically assigned to the majority supplier for the area and would not experience any effect on electricity and gas supplies.

This article was written in association with Ray Energy. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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