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ENERGY

How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

Austria has confirmed a new electricity price limit to try and contain rising costs in the country. Here's what you should know about it.

How could Austria's new electricity price brake benefit you?
Austria is putting a cap in electricity. Here's what will happen. (Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash)

Austria’s federal government confirmed on Wednesday that the “electricity price brake” regulation was approved by the Council of Ministers.

The price cap for electricity will last until June 30th 2024, benefiting every household in Austria. The relief should be in place by December 1st, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) told the media.

“With the electricity cost brake, we are launching another measure to relieve the burden on people in our country quickly and directly. Households should be able to afford a basic need such as electricity”, Nehammer said.

How much will I pay for electricity?

The price of electricity will be subsidised up to a consumption of 2,900-kilowatt hours, the government said. Until that limit, it will cost only ten cents per kilowatt hour – the energy price from before the current energy crisis.

Above that consumption limit, people will have to pay market prices for what they consume.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Why did Wien Energie ask for €6 billion from the Austrian government?

This way, the government hopes to help cushion rising costs but still incentivise people to decrease their consumption.

How high will the savings be?

The Austrian government estimates that the measure will help Austrian homes save from €400 to €800 on energy bills a year. The Finance Ministry added that the average household’s savings would be €500.

Will it be the same for everyone?

Yes and no. The price cap will work the same for everyone, yes, but lower-income households, as well as those with more than three persons, will be able to apply for further assistance.

Those who are exempt from the broadcasting fees (GIS), meaning they are lower-income, will receive an additional subsidy of up to €200. Additionally, households with more than three persons can apply for further relief, Nehammer said, without giving further details.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis pushes nuclear comeback in Europe

Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) told the press during the event that the subsidies were intended to secure people’s basic electricity needs.

How much is this costing the government?

The subsidy will cost public coffers. Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) said the costs would amount to €3 billion to €4 billion.

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

Measures to cushion high inflation

Austria is seeing high inflation rates, with prices soaring to a 50-year high.

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.

READ ALSO: When will Austria make the €500 anti-inflation payment and how do I get it?

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 this month.

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”.

BACKGROUND: EXPLAINED: What we know about Austria’s planned electricity price cap

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ENERGY

UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

Austria's gas storage tanks are filling up as gas consumption remains low. Here's what it means for the coming winter season.

UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

On Tuesday, Austria’s Climate Ministry confirmed the country’s gas storage tanks are now 80 percent full. 

The milestone was reached one month ahead of schedule and the amount is equivalent to the country’s average gas usage during a winter season.

Austria reached the target amount after more Russian gas flowed into the country than is currently being consumed, which means the storage levels will continue to increase.

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

In a statement, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “We pulled out all the stops to fill our large storage facilities and create this security of supply. 

“Today, we can say we are well prepared. Our storage facilities are 80 percent full and continue to fill up.”

Nehammer also confirmed that Austria’s dependence on Russian gas has been reduced from 80 percent to 50 percent, reports the Kronen Zeitung.

But despite the good news, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said the situation “remains tense”, adding that Russia is not a “reliable counterpart”.

Earlier this year, the Austrian Federal Government set the 80 percent target to ensure the gas supply for the winter months amid fears the gas supply could be disrupted.

FOR MEMBERS: READER QUESTION: When should I turn on my heating in Austria this year?

Even the storage facility at Haidach (the Salzburg-Upper Austrian site that borders Bavaria in Germany) is filling up after RAG, the largest gas storage operator and energy storage company in Austria, overtook management in August. Previously, Haidach was managed by Russia’s Gazprom unit and the facility had not been refilled since last winter.

This is good news for Austria as Tyrol and Vorarlberg’s gas supply comes from Bavaria, reports Der Standard.

How much gas can Austria store?

Austria can store 90 terrawatt hours (TWh) of gas when the storage tanks are full.

READ ALSO: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

However, only around half of the gas stored in Austria is for domestic consumption because gas for Slovenia and Germany is stored in Austria. 

According to ORF, Austria recorded 77 TWh of gas in storage on October 2nd. Last winter, Austria’s gas consumption from October 2021 to March 2022 was around 65 TWh.

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