Austria earmarks another €200m to lower electricity costs

19 Jan 2023

Austria’s government has announced it will cover up to 80% of network tariffs in a bid to reduce the burden of high electricity costs on households.

Although gas supplies exceed 85%, the mild weather continues, and Austria’s energy prices are declining, households and businesses are still feeling the pressure of prices that are twice as high as they were before 2022, Euractiv reports.

“Energy prices have fallen significantly in recent weeks, but they remain at a high level,” Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said on Wednesday.

“At the same time, the distortions on the electricity markets have led to a significant increase in electricity grid fees this year,” she added.

The government will pay 80% of grid fees, which make up a large part of electricity bills. Some €475 million was initially allocated for this financial support until the middle of next year, and now Vienna is seeking to boost the fund with an additional €200 million.

According to the Energy Minister, households can expect to save an average of €80 within this initiative, and the support will also be extended to businesses., which is “an important and necessary relief measure,” says Austria’s chamber of commerce.

Furthermore, possible overcharging is being investigated by the country’s grid regulator E-Control and the competition authority BWB. “We do not tolerate price gouging on the backs of consumers,” the Energy Minister went on to say.

A joint task force is being set up between the two authorities that will be in operation until the middle of next year. The initial results are forecast to be published in the first quarter of this year.