Studies show that German households pay several billion Euro more per year for their electricity and gas consumption than they would need to. Reliable and easily accessible information for switching to a more favorable electricity or gas supplier could facilitate switching and herewith relieve consumers from a significant financial burden. In this context, comparison portals for gas or electricity prices can be a useful tool for consumers to find the most suitable offer for them. However, these portals have been subject to criticism such as not providing objective recommendations.
In this light, the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection of Baden-Württemberg (MLR) mandated ConPolicy to conduct a study. The objective of the study is to analyze whether a state-organized reference portal could meet consumers’ expectations with regard to an independent portal for price comparison free of charge and whether this could reduce barriers for switching suppliers. Moreover, the options for the design of such a comparison portal are scrutinized. For this, in addition to a literature analysis the experiences from existing market transparency units in Germany and from selected comparison portals in other EU countries are analyzed.