Electricity utilities

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An electricity supply companies ( utilities , EltVU , including electric utilities in short electric utility , electric utility or power provider ) is a company that its customers with electrical energy (historically and colloquially "electricity" or "power" called) supplied, d. H. supplied.

In a narrower sense, only those companies are referred to as electricity suppliers who supply an end user directly, in particular those who operate a distribution network for this purpose . In a broader sense, all companies in the electricity industry , i.e. the entire supply chain from generation to trade, transmission (long-distance transport) and distribution to the consumer, are included under this term.

Any natural or legal person who supplies electricity to end consumers is called an electricity supplier .

Situation by country


In Germany , the electricity supply companies can be divided into

  • supra-regional suppliers who also operate high-voltage networks;
  • regional utilities, which are often subsidiaries of large energy utilities or public utilities , and
  • pure electricity suppliers who do not operate their own network.

The electricity supply companies in Germany are able to guarantee a high level of security of supply through cooperation - also at European level. There are networks in which lines of different voltage levels (110 kV, 220 kV and 380 kV) are also operated by different utility companies. In addition, some high-voltage lines are operated jointly by the EVU and Deutsche Bahn.

Here are some well-known German associations:

Electricity prices in Germany can vary greatly, with prices being higher in the south-west and east of Germany in particular. However, the price difference is often not immediately apparent due to various calculations (eco / climate tariffs, package tariffs, special discounts, peak and off-peak times). This is due to the fact that basic suppliers are free of prices on the one hand, and the quality of the connections to national electricity networks on the other.

Composition of the electricity price in Germany

Legal Definitions

According to Section 3 of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG), a distinction is made between operators of electricity supply networks and operators of electricity distribution networks. The term energy supply network therefore refers to electricity and gas. According to Section 3  No. 18 EnWG, energy supply companies are “natural or legal persons who supply energy to others, operate an energy supply network or have the right to dispose of an energy supply network as the owner”. So you take on the tasks of generation, distribution and sales. In addition to the electricity supply companies, this also includes, for example, natural gas and district heating supply companies .

Sections 6–10 EnWG stipulate the unbundling of the so-called vertically integrated power supply companies in implementation of European Community law . According to the legal definition of Section 3  No. 38 EnWG, vertically integrated electricity supply companies are companies or a group of companies that perform at least one of the functions of transmission or distribution and at least one of the functions of generation or sales in the electricity sector. This means, for example, that the network operation in dominant companies must be organized legally, operationally, in terms of information and accounting independently of other activities in the field of energy supply.


There are around 300 producers and 1,150 suppliers of electricity in Germany (as of January 2013). By far the highest total sales in 2015 were achieved by the following energy groups :

rank Companies 2015 sales
1. E.ON 116 billion euros
2. RWE € 48 billion
3. EnBW € 21 billion
4th Vattenfall Europe € 16 billion
5. EWE € 8 billion

Together, the first four, also known as the big four , dominate around 80 percent of the German electricity market, although it should be noted that E.ON itself is only a producer and sells electricity mainly through the Group's own sales companies. The DB Energie supplies the vehicles of Deutsche Bahn and other railway transport companies with single-phase frequency 16.7  Hz . Since this only happens for rail operations, it is not counted among the actual EVU, although it operates an extensive high-voltage line network that also leads to Austria and Switzerland. However, since DB Energie also supplies numerous commercial operations at the stations with 230 V 50 Hz mains electricity, which is mainly supplied from outside, it is a relatively large EVU in this regard.

In addition, there are some EVUs that generate or distribute electricity primarily from renewable energy sources . The largest green electricity providers in terms of turnover and independent of the major utility companies were:

rank Companies 2015 sales Number of customers
1. LichtBlick € 0.665 billion 560,000
2. Clean Energy Sourcing ~ € 0.500 billion ?
3. Naturstrom AG € 0.234 billion 250,000
4th Electricity works Schönau € 0.163 billion 150,000
5. Greenpeace Energy € 0.097 billion 125,000


Before 2007 there were only EdF in France and local distribution companies such as 'Electricité de Marseille' (collectively called 'fourisseurs historiques'). In mid-2007 the French government liberalized the electricity market, and since then there have been numerous 'fourisseurs alternatifs', e.g. B. Engie .


In Austria there are two national producer companies as well as a number of regional companies, which often only act as distributors or electricity traders (see below). They are mostly companies with shares of the individual federal states , some (e.g. Energieversorgung Niederösterreich , Wien Energie ) also have their own power plants to cover peak demand .

The most important electricity producers are:

Traction current

The most important green electricity producers are:

The distribution companies are:

The transmission system operators are:

In the course of the deregulation of the electricity market in 2001, new providers were added to supply end consumers and companies. However, they have no infrastructure . Many of these companies are offshoots of German electricity suppliers, e.g. B. E as in Simple, ENSTROGA or Grünwelt.


The major electricity supply companies in Switzerland are:

The majority of the Swiss electricity supply companies are organized in the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Energy Industry Act § 3. In: Laws on the Internet. Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, accessed on January 24, 2012 .
  2. ^ NACE (Version 2.0), Section D, Division 351 "Electricity Supply".
  3. Section 2, Paragraph 1 of the Ordinance laying down further provisions on greenhouse gas reduction for fuels
  4. Price comparison for electricity in your region
  5. ^ Electricity provider Atlas. Stromvergleich.de, accessed on May 2, 2013 .
  6. List of all electricity providers. In: verivox. Verivox GmbH; Company of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group, accessed on January 24, 2012 .
  7. ^ The companies in the German energy market. Accessed June 19, 2013.