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 – Updated – measures in Austria
|Country||Austria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 January 2022 – 31 December 2023|
|Context||COVID-19, War in Ukraine|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Responses to inflation
– Support for energy bills
|Author||Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||01 June 2022 (updated 01 March 2023)|
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.
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.
All households and companies benefit from this universal measure.
|Does not apply to workers||Applies to all businesses||Applies to all citizens|
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:
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.
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.
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
30 January 2023
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.