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ENERGY

Reader question: Will I benefit from Austria’s electricity price cap for my second home?

Austrian residences will benefit from a price brake as the government seeks to contain rising prices. But will it be in place for second homes as well?

Reader question: Will I benefit from Austria's electricity price cap for my second home?
Have a second home in Austria? Here's what you need to know about the electricity price cap. (Photo by Sarah Mutter on Unsplash)

Austria has announced a price cap on electricity, which will last until June 30th 2024, benefiting every household in the country, according to Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP).

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.

At the same time, lower-income households, as well as those with more than three persons, will be able to apply for further assistance.

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

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.

The government says these measures were to ensure that the subsidies would “secure people’s basic electricity needs”.

But what about people with second homes?

One question that arose after the announcement of the price cap and the further measures destined to help people of low income was whether those at the other end of the spectrum, particularly those with a house and a holiday home in Austria, would benefit as well.

It’s a generous system which will cost up to €4 billion to public coffers, and the Finance Ministry has said that they prefer the measures to reach everyone as quickly as possible rather than they take too long but be targeted.

So, everyone who uses electricity will get the subsidy, whether they draw it for their primary residence, their second home, their holiday or no residence at all (i.e. businesses).

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

For example, if you own an apartment in Vienna and a holiday home in Salzburg, you can have your electricity consumption subsidised twice. If you live in the UK and have a home in Tyrol, your holiday home will still benefit from the subsidy.

According to Statistics Austria, there are 1.2 million second homes in Austria.

There is also no distinction in income or number of people in a household for the subsidy – the only differences are the “extra” assistance for lower-income or homes with more than three people.

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MONEY

Reader question: Why haven’t I received my Klimabonus in Austria yet?

Austria started paying €500 to every resident in the country in early September. But some people entitled to it still haven't received the payment. Here's why and what you can do about it.

Reader question: Why haven't I received my Klimabonus in Austria yet?

With rising inflation, the Austrian government announced several measures to try and cushion the effects of higher cost of living for those who live in the country. One of the most talked about measures is the so-called Klimabonus (officially, the full name would be something like “the climate and anti-inflation bonus”), the €500 one-off payment that every resident in the country is entitled to.

The Klimabonus is supposed to be straightforward: no need to apply for it, no long queues, no different criteria or different amounts depending on income. However, there are two rules: the recipient must live in Austria for six months in 2022, and minors receive half the amount.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

The “easy” payments would be sent directly to the recipient’s bank account registered with FinanzOnline – those who do not have their data up to date would instead get a secure letter with Klimabonus vouchers that can be exchanged for money or used in hundreds of stores and supermarkets.

It hasn’t been that simple, though, as payments started on September 1st and many people still haven’t received their money. Here are some reasons why you might not have received your €500 payment yet.

READ ALSO: Why is Austria’s €500 climate bonus causing controversy?

You are not entitled to it

The first reason, of course, is if you are not entitled to the payment.

According to the federal government, “Everyone who has their main residence in Austria for at least 183 days in the year of entitlement receives the climate bonus – regardless of age or origin and citizenship.”

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in October 2022

This means you must have your primary residence for around six months in 2022 to receive the climate bonus this year. So if you moved this year and haven’t been here for that long, then you are not entitled to it – yet.

If you moved but are unregistered with the authorities here (in other words, you haven’t got your Meldezettel), then you are also not entitled.

You recently moved to Austria

Those who moved to Austria this year might also only get their payment next year. This is because the government uses the data from July 3rd to assess who has been in Austria for 183 days.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I recently moved to Austria, will I receive the ‘climate bonus’?

This means that if you moved in 2022 and have not been in Austria for 183 days on July 3rd, you’ll likely end up in the second payout round to be made at the end of the year.

The same is valid for babies born this year in Austria. As these people won’t show up as living in Austria for 183 days as of July 3rd, they should get their payment (the total amount, referring to 2022) only in early 2023.

(© The Local)

You are one of the last people to get it

There is another reason why you might not have gotten your payment: you’re just last in line for this first payment. The transfers are made daily but capped to a – technical – limit and are made randomly.

According to the Linz IT company Programmierfabrik, which programmed the database behind the system, the payments are ongoing. Managing director Wilfried Seyruck said: “We have been making 300,000 transfers every day since September 5th.

“Therefore, it will take us 25 days until all 7.4 million claimants have received the transfer. We should be finished by the end of the first week of October.”

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is the ‘Vollmacht Klimabonus 2022’ letter everyone in Austria is receiving?

So, if you are getting your payment through a wire transfer to your bank account, it might take a bit longer. However, it might take even longer if you don’t have your updated information with Austria’s FinanzOnline authorities.

As the government stated when they announced the bonus, those who don’t have their bank accounts up to date will receive a voucher instead. There are about 1.2 million people in Austria in that situation.

In these cases, it can take until the end of October to arrive by secure mail – and then people will have to trade the voucher for cash.

You got unlucky

We can’t rule out that there might have been an error in your case. You can check your bank information on FinanzOnline to see if the data is up to date and correct.

If you haven’t gotten your transfer or a voucher by the end of October – and there has been no announcement of delays by the government -you can reach the Klimabonus service team on the phone.

The service is available in German, from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm on 0800 8000 80.

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