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ENERGY

KEY STEPS: How to set up and pay for your electricity contract in Sweden

So you're ready to move house, what next? In Sweden setting up electricity requires two separate contracts.

an electricity metre
These are the steps to follow to ensure you have electricity when you move into your new home. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

First of all, if you’ve bought an apartment, or a house that is part of a housing association (bostadsrättsförening or BRF), you should find out which utilities are included in your monthly fee to the BRF (avgift). Ideally you would do this during the property hunt so that you can accurately compare different monthly costs, but if not, find out as soon as possible.

It’s common for heating to be included in the avgift, as well as water (check if that includes hot water too). Electricity is much less commonly included, so it’s likely you’ll need to sign your own contracts.

There are two parts to your electricity service: the grid (elnät) and the supply company (elbolag).

The electricity grid can’t be chosen; it depends on where you live. For example, in Stockholm the company Ellevio owns the grid, so you need to sign your grid contract (nätavtal) with them in order to get access to the electricity. You can find out which company owns the grid where you live on Nätområden.

If you’re moving within the same area and already have an agreement with the network, let them know your new address.

If you don’t sign this agreement, you’re at risk of moving into a new home with no electricity.


Photo: Audun Braastad/NTB scanpix/TT

To sign the contract, you’ll need two numbers: the anläggningsID (an 18-digit number which you can find on the electricity meter, or by asking the previous owner) and the apartment number if you’re in an apartment (this is a four-digit number and should be in your paperwork from the move, or you can ask the previous owner or BRF).

The fee you pay to the grid will consist of two parts: a fixed subscription fee, and an extra amount based on the amount of energy used.

On top of that, you’ll pay a separate fee to a supply company.

When it comes to your supply company, you do have a choice. After signing your nätavtal you need to choose a supply company so that they can deliver electricity directly to your home. If you already have a contract that you’d like to keep, you can contact the supply company to get it transferred to your new address when you move.

If you don’t sign your own elavtal, the grid will choose a company for you automatically. This means you’ll still get electricity, but it’s unlikely to be the best price for you.


Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

To choose your own electricity supplier, you can use comparison tools such as Compricer, Elbyte or Elskling. You’ll get a more accurate price estimate if you know roughly how much electricity you use per year, for example if you can check on a previous invoice, but otherwise you can give the size of your property and get a rough figure.

When choosing your electricity supplier, you can choose between a fixed price (you’ll pay the same amount per kilowatt-hour each month for a set time, so your fee depends entirely on how much electricity you use) or a variable rate (this means your kilowatt-hour price varies, based on how expensive the electricity is for the supplier which depends on factors like weather and supply and demand, so your overall price will vary more).

You can also choose an electricity supplier that uses renewable energy if you prefer. And if you live together with someone else, make sure the same person is named on both deals to avoid any problems.

Once you’ve signed both agreements (which can usually be done online if you have Mobile BankID), you should be good to go. Make sure to find out from both the grid and the supply company how and when you’ll be billed, for example whether you’ll need to make the payments yourself or if you can choose to set up direct debits (autogiro).

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For members

EUROPEAN UNION

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you’re moving country

Have you ever wondered what to do with your private pension plan when moving to another European country?

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you're moving country

This question will probably have caused some headaches. Fortunately a new private pension product meant to make things easier should soon become available under a new EU regulation that came into effect this week. 

The new pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) will allow savers to take their private pension with them if they move within the European Union.

EU rules so far allowed the aggregation of state pensions and the possibility to carry across borders occupational pensions, which are paid by employers. But the market of private pensions remained fragmented.

The new product is expected to benefit especially young people, who tend to move more frequently across borders, and the self-employed, who might not be covered by other pension schemes. 

According to a survey conducted in 16 countries by Insurance Europe, the organisation representing insurers in Brussels, 38 percent of Europeans do not save for retirement, with a proportion as high as 60 percent in Finland, 57 percent in Spain, 56 percent in France and 55 percent in Italy. 

The groups least likely to have a pension plan are women (42% versus 34% of men), unemployed people (67%), self-employed and part-time workers in the private sector (38%), divorced and singles (44% and 43% respectively), and 18-35 year olds (40%).

“As a complement to public pensions, PEPP caters for the needs of today’s younger generation and allows people to better plan and make provisions for the future,” EU Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness said on March 22nd, when new EU rules came into effect. 

The scheme will also allow savers to sign up to a personal pension plan offered by a provider based in another EU country.

Who can sign up?

Under the EU regulation, anyone can sign up to a pan-European personal pension, regardless of their nationality or employment status. 

The scheme is open to people who are employed part-time or full-time, self-employed, in any form of “modern employment”, unemployed or in education. 

The condition is that they are resident in a country of the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area). The PEPP will not be available outside these countries, for instance in Switzerland. 

How does it work?

PEPP providers can offer a maximum of six investment options, including a basic one that is low-risk and safeguards the amount invested. The basic PEPP is the default option. Its fees are capped at 1 percent of the accumulated capital per year.

People who move to another EU country can continue to contribute to the same PEPP. Whenever a consumer changes the country of residence, the provider will open a new sub-account for that country. If the provider cannot offer such option, savers have the right to switch provider free of charge.  

As pension products are taxed differently in each state, the applicable taxation will be that of the country of residence and possible tax incentives will only apply to the relevant sub-account. 

Savers who move residence outside the EU cannot continue saving on their PEPP, but they can resume contributions if they return. They would also need to ask advice about the consequences of the move on the way their savings are taxed. 

Pensions can then be paid out in a different location from where the product was purchased. 

Where to start?

Pan-European personal pension products can be offered by authorised banks, insurance companies, pension funds and wealth management firms. 

They are regulated products that can be sold to consumers only after being approved by supervisory authorities. 

As the legislation came into effect this week, only now eligible providers can submit the application for the authorisation of their products. National authorities have then three months to make a decision. So it will still take some time before PEPPs become available on the market. 

When this will happen, the products and their features will be listed in the public register of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). 

For more information:

https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/browse/regulation-and-policy/pan-european-personal-pension-product-pepp/consumer-oriented-faqs-pan_en 

https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/browse/regulation-and-policy/pan-european-personal-pension-product-pepp_en 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK. 

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