UPDATED: Why some households in Vienna are set for a gas price hike
Wien Energie is reportedly planning to double the price of heating for hundreds of thousands of residents in Austria's capital city.
Around 440,000 households in Vienna who have district heating will find their bills are to rise by 92 percent, or almost double, according to information from the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
Wien Energie also confirmed the information to broadcaster ORF on Tuesday evening and is set to submit an application about the price increase to the City of Vienna in the coming days.
For the average household, the increase means additional expenditure of around €45 per month, or €540 per year.
Vienna's Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), told the Kurier on Wednesday the price hike is "not set in stone", but that he has limited powers to stop it as the measure is a "necessity resulting from the operational management of Wien Energie".
Additionally, even though Ludwig has the final say on the price increase, he can only refuse the proposal if it greatly exceeds international price developments.
Part of the reason for the proposed increase is that two-thirds of district heating is generated from gas, which Austria largely imports from Russia.
According to the Kronen Zeitung, Wien Energie argues the price increase is due to the global energy crisis and the fact that the Austrian gas price index last month rose by more than 470 percent compared to May 2021.
The report also says Wien Energie "needs the money to achieve the goal of climate neutrality and to be able to phase out gas", with planned investments of €1 billion earmarked for the transformation.
Executive City Councillor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) said: “We are in talks with Wien Energie. More details will follow soon.”
In the past 25 years, there have only been four increases in the price of district heating in Vienna.