You just spent several thousand dollars on deposit and first month’s rent for the new house that you and your family are getting ready to move into. Unfortunately, the landlord just handed you the house keys after you paid him the deposit and first months rent in cash and left! What should you do next?

Hopefully you were able to do a meter reading for electric, water and heating oil/gas with the landlord and wrote the information down. I you are lucky enough to have heating oil then you can estimate what is left in the tank. If you have gas then you will not be able to do so unless you request an end-of-year reconciliation reading from the landlord which is only an estimate of what you will consume. The landlord will most likely tell you how much you will have to pay but this is only an estimate and a complete annual meter reading will be done by a German Calibration company.

Registering electricity can be a real challenge if you don’t know where the Electric Company is located. Most of the time you can email the electric company the current electric meter reading as well as the VAT form. For example, Enkenbach-Alsenbach near Sembach does it that way. Each village or town has different rules and it is important to ask the landlord or neighbor where the electric company is located so you can at least call them to find out if you physically have to come in or whether you can email the information.

If you live in the Kaiserslautern area or immediate surroundings, your electric company will be Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern. They are located at Bismarkstrasse 14 in Kaiserslautern (downtown) not too far from the Voksbank, their phone number is 0631 80010. It is always best to take the time to stop at the office and register your electric, trash, and gas in person.

Before you drive to downtown to register your electricity, you should stop by the Ramstein UTAP office Bldg. 2118, Kleber Kaserne Bld 3205, Landstuhl, Bldg.3810, and Pulaski Bldg. 2899. If you need their phone numbers just call the operator at 06371 47 113 and have the operator connect you. The UTAP is entirely voluntary for active-duty personnel, but it is mandatory for many civilians (if available with the utility supplier). If you cannot pick up a Utility VAT form prior to signing up with the electric company then you can still turn one in at a later date.

The UTAP allows DOD employees to legally avoid paying the German tax on certain utilities. With UTAP, you can save up to 19 percent value added tax on electricity and natural gas, and up to 7 percent on water. In other words, this program can save the U.S. government and you hundreds of dollars in utility expenses annually.
To register for the program, take the following documents to a local UTAP office: a copy of your orders, your rental contract (or bill of sale), utility meter numbers and readings, your utility company customer number or your first bill (if already signed up with a utility company), ID card, local bank account information, and enrollment fee. The UTAP enrollment fee is $77, and it covers your entire stay at one apartment/house given you stay with the same utility companies.

The Kaiserslautern Electric Company is one of the most expensive companies in Rheinland Pfalz and I recommend that you do some research before deciding on an electric company which could save you hundreds of dollars each year. The UTAP is entirely voluntary for active-duty personnel, but it is mandatory for many civilians (if available with the utility supplier). This link will give you a listing of different electric companies that could make a huge price difference.

The UTAP allows DOD employees to legally avoid paying the German tax on certain utilities. With UTAP, you can save up to 19 percent value added tax on electricity and natural gas, and up to 7 percent on water. In other words, this program can save the U.S. government and you hundreds of dollars in utility expenses annually.
Not sure if you qualify for UTAP? Stop by a local UTAP office for more information. To register for the program, take the following documents to a local UTAP office: a copy of your orders, your rental contract (or bill of sale), utility meter numbers and readings, your utility company customer number or your first bill (if already signed up with a utility company), ID card, local bank account information, and enrollment fee.
The UTAP enrollment fee is $77, and it covers your entire stay at one apartment/house given you stay with the same utility companies.

Although UTAP helps save money on your bills, it is not a bill-paying or financial aid program. Responsibility for paying the bill to the utility company remains with each individual. If you need help financially, contact your Airman & Family Readiness Center or Army Community Service. For more information about UTAP and how you can start saving, visit your local UTAP office or call the Ramstein UTAP office at 480-5309 or 06371-47-5309.

You are not required to sign up with SWK in Kaiserslautern or any other electric company. You can pick your own elecric company by clicking on the following links: http://www.tarifvergleich.de/strom/anbieter/kaiserslautern/ or www.veryfox.de and type in your zip code. This will allow you to find comparison prices for the different types of electric companies that could save you thousands of dollars each year. Just make sure you ask the company if they take VAT forms/UTAP forms.

To pay for your heating bill if you have to order oil it is best to also do some comparison shopping. The contractor on base is far more expensive than others in town. It is a good idea to call around to find the best prices. Make sure they accept VAT forms that you intend to use. The price will vary depending on the amount you intend to buy and the price they quote will be per liter. Some companies do have delivery fees. Usually oil is cheaper during the summer. For group oil buys there may be a slight price drop after 10 000 liters.

I hope this information was helpful for newcomers. If you have any questions about registering your utilities in the KMC, please send me a message at usarmyusairforce@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer you as soon as possible.