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Energy For Members

When will energy prices fall in Austria?

The Local Austria
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When will energy prices fall in Austria?
Euro notes in an envelope. Photo: Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Austrian energy regulator E-Control is predicting a decline in gas and electricity costs over the coming months. When can people expect to see their bills go down?

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After months of steep price increases on the Austrian energy market, it seems that the end could finally be in could be in sight, as experts are predicting that prices could go down again this year.

Wolfgang Urbantschitsch, a board member of energy regulator E-Control, said on Wednesday he expected energy prices to fall "towards the middle of the year". 

Speaking in an interview with ZiB2, Urbantschitsch warned customers not to expect their bills to go back to what they were two years ago, but said they were unlikely to see the same sharp peaks in prices that they saw in 2022. 

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The energy market could also be influenced by a key February ruling from the Vienna Commercial Court, which declared that price increases levied by energy company Verbund back in May 2022 had been unlawful.

If the partly state-owned company loses on appeal, customers could be in line for significant refunds - and it could become harder for other energy firms to hike their prices in respond the changes on the market in future. 

"You can wait and see, because if this price change has become ineffective, the customers will get their money back," said Urbantschitsch.

The regulator also said he feared that some electricity companies could leave the market if it becomes more difficult to change their prices - meaning less competition and fewer options for customers.

"The public interest (in low prices) also applies, but ultimately, of course, it is always about acting for the good of society," he added. 

READ ALSO: How expensive are gas and electricity in Austria right now?

Lower grid fees

Another key change that should lower people's electricity bills is the grid-fee subsidies that were agreed on by the government in February and that came into force on March 1st. 

Since January, there had been a dramatic rise in grid fees charged to customers, which will now be dampened with a €558 million cash injection from the government. This should cover 80 percent of the increase. 

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"The grid operators have also indicated in advance that they will not change the billing for small consumers in the first two months of 2023, but will take the effects into account by smoothing the bills," explained Alfons Hafer, CEO of E-Control. "Thus, most consumers should feel the support without fluctuating payment obligations."

This means that customers could start to see their energy costs go down slightly from May. 

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