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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria

A recent power outage in Austria left thousands of households without electricity and hit tram lines and traffic lights in Innsbruck. Here's what you need to do if it happens where you are.

Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria
What to do in case of a blackout in Austria? (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

A large-scale power failure occurred in western Austria on Monday August 8th, affecting supply in 33 municipalities, including the Tyrol capital Innsbruck and its surrounding areas.

The power outage happened at around 10:45 am and lasted less than one hour, but was enough to leave thousands of households without energy, affect tram lines and shut down traffic lights, according to the daily Tiroler Tageszeitung.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: What is Austria’s emergency plan if Russia cuts gas supply?

Mountain railways such as the Innsbruck Nordkettenbahn stood still. In one of the gondolas, about 20 people waited for the onward journey, broadcaster ORF reported. The power failure also stopped passenger elevators. In several cases, the fire brigade had to open lift doors.

Tinetz restored supply at around 11:30 am and is investigating the causes of the failure – they suspect a construction work error could have caused the shortage.

So what to do in the event of a power failure?

Following the outage Austrian power suppliers shared tips and the proper procedures to follow during power failures.

According to Wiener Netze, if the electricity in your apartment or house fails, it is essential to keep calm. There are six steps you need to follow.

The first is to create light by getting a flashlight or candle or activating the flashlight function on your smartphone. “This allows you to orient yourself in the rooms and reduce the risk of injury”, the company said.

Tyrol’s Tinetz company also highlights that a power shortage is not an emergency, “so do not call emergency services such as fire brigade, ambulance, or similar”.

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria

Then, you need to try and access who is affected by the power failure. Just look out the window to see if there is still light in your street – you can also ask your neighbours if they have electricity at home.

If you are the only one affected, check whether individual fuses have failed and see if any fuses are set to off. If that is the case, you need to simply flip the levers again or replace old fuses with new ones.

You should understand how your fuse box works (Photo by mostafa mahmoudi on Unsplash)

You should immediately unplug electrical appliances that no longer work and replace them with new devices once you have energy back on.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: How to save money on energy bills in Austria

If other apartments or houses are also affected, you need to contact your local power grid disruption line (in Vienna, that would be calling 0800 500 600, in Tyrol, the number is +43 0 50708 123). The line should be available around the clock to immediately take care of the damage.

The local power supply companies also provide websites to check for any failures. For Vienna, you can check here. In Tyrol, here.

What to do after the power failures?

You must check your electrical appliances once the power supply is resumed.

Ensure that the last switched-on devices (such as an iron or a boiler) are switched off. If your power supply was interrupted for more than six hours, you should empty the refrigerator.

Your gas boiler automatically resumes working after a power failure. If not, turn the main switch off and on again or contact the device manufacturer.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Is it worth switching to solar power in Austria?

Check all clocks that work with electricity to update the time. Also, check if any electrical devices no longer work – they should be taken to a repair shop or disposed of.

How do I prepare for a power outage?

You can prepare for a possible power failure.

First, it is important to get familiarised with the fuse box (including the key to it) in your home. You should also keep replacement fuses at hand and ensure that you have sufficient battery power for your alarm systems in case of prolonged failures.

You should also keep a flashlight with working batteries and the telephone number of your local power grid malfunction line in case of any emergencies.

If you don’t have a battery-powered radio, you can check the news with the radio on your car or even use the station’s app on a smartphone.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

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ENERGY

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

The City of Vienna is expanding its group of homes that can receive an energy cost voucher by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know.

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Austria’s capital Vienna is expanding a program to subsidise part of the energy bills of around 200,000 eligible households, the City said in a press release.

“Energy costs are difficult for many Viennese to cope with in the current situation. We are helping those who need the support most urgently – and we are doing so in a targeted manner by settling outstanding bills with energy providers”, City Councillor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker said.

The City has already agreed with state-run energy company Wien Energie that, from December 2022 to February 2023, no electricity, gas or heat shutdowns will happen – regardless of any payment issues.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Now, a group of more vulnerable people can apply for Energy Support Plus to get up to €500 in aid with their energy bills.

The following people can apply online at wien.gv.at for Energy Support Plus: Recipients of Vienna minimum income (Bezieher*innen von Wiener Mindestsicherung), housing assistance (Wohnbeihilfe), AIVG benefits (AIVGLeistungen), a compensatory or supplementary allowance (einer Ausgleichs- oder Ergänzungszulage), GIS-exempt persons and low-income earners (GIS-Befreite und Geringverdienende) who are covered by the cost cap of the Renewable Expansion Act, those entitled to sickness benefit (Krankengeld), rehabilitation benefit (Rehabilitationsgeld), reintegration benefit (Wiedereingliederungsgeld) or transitional allowance (Übergangsgeld).

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Applications can be submitted until December 31st, 2022. The maximum subsidy amount is €500 per household.

The service telephone of the Department for Social Affairs, Social and Health Law, is available at 01/4000-8040 for information and assistance with applications. Wien Energie’s customer service also offers personal assistance with the application process at Spittelau.

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