Austria’s federal government agreed to impose an electricity price cap after the Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday.
The aim is to “support the Austrian population to ensure unaffordable energy supply for a certain basic need”, according to a statement released after the meeting. The government didn’t give details on the price cap but said that the conditions for the price cap would be developed by the end of August.
A task force led by Austrian Institute of Economic Research head Gabriel Felbermayr and Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens), Economy minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP), and Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) should have nationwide measures ready by autumn.
“The aim of the measures is to secure a quote per household at affordable prices in the least bureaucratic way possible”. The government said it would take into account the social impact of the inflation-dumping measures and focus on persons particularly affected by “energy poverty”.
It would also bring uniform prices nationwide at “more favourable price at pre-war levels”.
The price cap will be initially for electricity but could be extended to other energy sources, and the task force will evaluate the need for it.
Additionally, the government will look into possible support measures for particularly energy-intensive companies.
Measures to cushion high inflation
Austria is seeing high inflation rates, with prices soaring to a 50-year record, as The Local reported. In particular, high energy prices bring more uncertainty to residents of the alpine country.
The federal government has taken some measures announced as part of relief packages with one-off payments and changes in the tax system.
One of the main payouts is the “anti-inflation” payment to be paid together with a “climate bonus” sum to all adults in Austria, totalling €500 already in autumn.
Still, as consumer prices are expected to continue rising in the coming months, the government stated it is “already working intensively on the possibility of further mitigating measures”.