Large local utilities corporations offer complete services, while a few national giants and lower priced competitors are also available to purchase consumer power sources. In Essen and other towns of Ruhr it is possible to order electricity, gas and water all from the same public-private company, Stadtwerke Essen, which is part owned indirectly by Stadt Essen.
Waste disposal is a complex matter with competition relatively low. Recycling as a whole has been traditionally very strong in Germany, with stores legally obliged to dispose of packaging if the customer so desires.
Expect similar confusing tariffs for power as in other countries. Once the deal has been signed, commitment can be quite lengthy, normally at least twelve months.