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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2022-1/2427 – measures in Austria

Suspension of green electricity contributions

Aussetzen der Ökostrompauschale und Ökostromförderbeitrag

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2022 – 31 December 2022
Context COVID-19, War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Responses to inflation
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 01 June 2022 (updated 20 June 2022)

Background information

Due to increasing energy prices and higher inflation caused by the aftermath of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the national government has been working on implementing measures to support citizens and prevent social hardship. In January 2022, an amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Expansion Act (EAG) was issued, which foresees the suspension of two green electricity contributions for the year 2022.

Besides this measure, the energy costs compensation voucher and the inflation compensation payment for those most in need are also part of this first relief package.

Content of measure

The "Green Electricity Flat Rate" ( Ökostrompauschale ) and the "Green Electricity Promotional Contribution" ( Ökostromförderbeitrag ) are fees for electricity consumers to be paid on top of their individual tariffs (with low-income households being exempt), in order to promote the production of green electricity. They amounted to around €110 on average in 2021, with differences based on individual energy consumption. For 2022, both contributions were cancelled for all households and companies in Austria, in order to support them in times of increasing energy prices. The suspension has become possible, according to the climate ministry, because in 2021, there was a surplus of revenue and due to the high energy prices on the electricity market, lower funds for green electricity were necessary to compensate for the market price. Thus, the financial relief of the population would not affect the further expansion of renewable energies. According to the finance ministry, the savings are expected to lie between €90 and €100 per household.

Use of measure

All households and companies benefit from this universal measure.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement as case not in social partner domain No involvement as case not in social partner domain
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

The social partners were not involved in the design, implementation or monitoring of the measure. Following the decision on the implementation of further measures (subsumed in so-called two anti-inflation packages), the national government invited the social partners to a meeting on 23 March to exchange ideas, but this took place in retrospect to the implementation of this measure.

Views and reactions

Both sides of the social partners (the Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB and Chamber of Labour AK on the employees' side and the Federation of Austrian Industry IV and Federal Economic Chamber WKO on the business side) have voiced criticism that the measure would not go far enough and that more and more substantial support measures would be needed as soon as possible.

In a tripartite talk between the federal government and the social partner organisations, the social partners had proposed a so-called "price commission" that would look at price increases on the market, introduce targeted measures and price caps. The idea was thus far not taken up.

Sources

  • 11 January 2022: Economic Committee: Suspension of the green electricity flat rate for 2022 (www.parlament.gv.at)
  • 21 March 2022: Katzian on the relief package: "It's not nothing, but who benefits?" (kurier.at)

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Suspension of green electricity contributions, measure AT-2022-1/2427 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2022-1_2427.html

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