Finance Minister Magnus Brunner says 150-euro energy costs voucher will now go to 4 million households
Several EU countries plan to follow Austria's example
The Federal Government now plans to invest a total of 4 billion euros in its efforts to combat rising energy costs as effectively as possible, and to help the population quickly and with the minimum of fuss. This announcement follows the government's initial package of measures to offset inflation, which was presented back in January. The Energy Costs Credit (Energiekostenausgleich), which is worth 150 euros per household, forms part of this package, along with the Inflation Credit (Teuerungsausgleich) paid to vulnerable sections of the population and the decision to cut the renewable energy contribution and the renewable energy charge.
The Energy Costs Credit will be sent to households in the form of a voucher, and applied to their energy supplier's next annual or final electricity bill. The law to enable the scheme was formally adopted in March 2022, paving the way for energy costs vouchers to be sent to around 4 million households in Austria.
Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner commented: "In the shape of the Energy Costs Credit, we have found a legal way of helping Austrians offset rising energy costs. The current price increases will be reflected above all in significantly higher annual bills. which is why the support has to be applied when those bills are issued. The €150 voucher will provide help to those worst affected by inflation. We have been quicker to design and implement a package of support - a package that is now worth some 4 billion euros - than other countries. Other European countries, including France, Slovenia and Portugal, are considering working with vouchers, and are following our model in that respect."
The distribution of vouchers is linked to the timing of annual bills. The vouchers will be sent out in batches, with around 1 million being sent out each week. By the end of May, vouchers will have been distributed to every property in Austria registered as a main residence for a least one person.
One voucher can be redeemed for each household and individual responsible for paying the electricity bill. Each voucher is associated with a specific household, and can be applied to a valid contract with an electricity supplier provided that the income of the relevant household does not exceed a maximum threshold. If you meet the relevant criteria, you can activate your voucher online using the QR code on the voucher itself, register it electronically on a dedicated webpage, or redeem it by post. Once the voucher has been redeemed, your energy supplier is required to deduct 150 euros from your annual or final electricity bill for the following year. This system ensures that personal data is secure, as well as being legally sound and simple.
The Energy Costs Credit project will be implemented with the support of the Austria Federal Computing Centre (BundesrechenzentrumGmbH) and the Austrian energy suppliers.
Comprehensive information about the Energy Costs Credit and detailed FAQs in English can be found here: FAQ_English (PDF, 389 KB). For FAQ in German, please check the scheme's dedicated website at www.oesterreich.gv.at/energiekostenausgleich. In addition, the Energy Costs Credit Hotline is available now on 050 233 798.