Vienna has announced an extensive package with one-off payments of €200 and structural measures that will benefit more than one million residents in the Austrian capital, Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) said during a press conference this Tuesday.
The announcement comes as energy bills rise, the cost of living increases, and the state-run utility company Wien Energie confirmed a 92 percent increase in bills for around 440,000 households in Vienna.
Wien Energie’s price increase still needs to be evaluated and approved by city authorities.
Vienna’s announcement also comes as the federal government unveiled a €6 billion set of measures to fight the rising cost of living, as reported.
Together with executive city councillor Peter Hanke (SPÖ), Ludwig announced the package and said that specific households could receive up to €1,000 in relief measures.
Energy bonus 2022
According to the city officials, the first phase of the relief package comes by the end of June, or early July, when about 650,000 households in Vienna will receive the €200 payment.
“In theory, a person could receive up to €1,000 in several tranches, and further measures or inflation packages cannot be ruled out. We want to cushion energy increases to households”, Ludwig said.
He said the first payment would be made to eligible households, which include about two-thirds of the Viennese homes. Residents will receive a mailed letter with a QR code to apply for the payment.
There is an income limit, and only Viennese residents with an annual gross income of a maximum of €40,000 for single-person households or €100,000 for multi-person families are entitled.
The mayor didn’t give further details on how additional payment “tranches” would work.
Über eine Million WienerInnen bzw. 2/3 der Wiener Haushalte werden vom Wiener Energiebonus ´22 profitieren. Mit diesem 130 Mio. € starken Bonus reagiert @Stadt_Wien auf die Tatsache, dass die Teuerungswelle mitten in unserer Gesellschaft angekommen ist …/1
— Michael Ludwig (@BgmLudwig) June 14, 2022
Further measures to control energy increases
Ludwig and Hanke mentioned other measures set aside to fight the effects of rising prices and ensure that the population is protected.
The mayor announced the city would set up a “Fairness Commission”. Ludwig said that the commission would “monitor international markets and ensure that lower purchase prices will be passed on to customers promptly”.
Additionally, state utility company Wien Energie will not cut off electricity and gas supplies to defaulting consumers during the winter months of December 2022 to February 2023.
Consumers of the company will be allowed to repay debt in up to 18 monthly instalments, and a loyalty program for clients of Wiener Stadtwerke, the holding that owns Wien Energy and transport company Wiener Linien, will be created.
The City of Vienna, the sole owner of Wiener Stadtwerke, will waive its dividend payments to the city budget in 2022 and 2023. “Every euro generated should be used for investments in the energy transition and the best possible customer price”, Ludwig said.