Electricity, oil and gas
There’s lots to care take of after moving to a new home or office. Electricity and gas are privatized in Germany, and you can choose from a wide range of providers. The default provider is Hamburg Energie, but it’s simple and quick to change to a different provider, and most will even offer to unsubscribe you from the default when you become a customer. You typically pay your utility expenses by the month, and any over-payment is reimbursed in full once a year. Alternatively, you will be notified if the monthly rate is too low. Most correspondence these days happens online, so you can monitor your energy consumption easily.
Some older houses and office buildings in Germany still have wood stoves, usually in addition to modern heating. They are fired by wood or briquettes, which can be bought at one of Germany’s many DIY markets or delivered to your door. If your house is heated by fuel oil, you'll need to monitor your consumption and order oil from one of the many private providers in Hamburg about two to three times a year.
Hamburg Wasser is responsible for your water supply. The tap water in Hamburg is perfectly drinkable. What else would you expect from the continent's first modern sewage system?
Usually, there is a fixed rate per cubic metre, and clients pay for their actual consumption and sewage.
Telephone and Internet
There is strong competition between telecom companies. Finding the best deal can be exhausting. It has been reported that for some of the more popular companies it can take up to six weeks to hook you up. In urgent cases, it might be best to choose the company that offers the fastest service. If you have more time, it can be helpful to check for special deals, such as international, weekend or evening rates. It's also worth noting that calling mobile phones is rather expensive, unless on the same network. Oh, and for some strange reason, mobile phones in Germany are called 'Handy', pronounced like the English synonym for 'useful'.
Cable television is often provided along with telephone and internet. Note that only PAL systems are able to receive German television.