Finance Minister Magnus Brunner gives green light for €150 energy costs voucher
National Council adopts law to compensate consumers for rising energy costs, with the credit to be deducted from annual bills
Back at the end of January, Austria's coalition government unveiled a package of measures worth 1.7 billion euros to combat rising prices and help ordinary Austrians pay soaring energy bills. Under the new package, people receiving the minimum pension will receive relief worth around 560 euros. The Energy Costs Credit (Energiekostenausgleich) forms part of this package, along with the Inflation Credit (Teuerungsausgliech) and the decision to cut the renewable energy contribution and the renewable energy charge. The Energy Costs Credit is worth 150 euros. It will be sent to households in the form of a voucher, and will kick in when annual electricity bills are issued and rising prices make their presence felt. The legislation enabling this payment was formally adopted today by the National Council.
Commenting on the new law, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said: "This decision creates the legal basis for us to provide Austrians with relief from rising energy costs. The €150 voucher will provide help to those worst affected by current inflation. We have been quicker to design and deliver our package of support - which now amounts to some 4 billion euros - than other countries, and the same applies to the Energy Costs Credit. Countries like Belgium are looking at our voucher-based system and trying to imitate it."
Austria's €4bn package to combat inflation is unique anywhere in the world, and work is now underway to deliver it step by step.
Austrian citizens and businesses stand to benefit from around 4 billion euros of relief from rising prices. This means that the level of relief provided is already the equivalent of 10 times higher than that available in Germany, for instance. While most EU Member States are resorting primarily to short-term schemes like temporary price ceilings, the Austrian government is taking long-term action to react to predicted inflation figures. These measures will lead to an appreciable reduction in living costs for ordinary Austrians and give businesses some much-needed breathing space.