As of March 1, the energy supplier will increase the electricity price for existing household and commercial customers – for new customers, however, the tariffs will be reduced. The VSV also criticizes the fact that the energy price per kilowatt hour for customers in the basic service has been increased by over 80 percent.
“In its current terms and conditions, Verbund does not have a legally compliant price change clause, but only refers to Section 80 (2a) of the Electricity Industry Act (ElWOG)”Peter Kolba, chairman of the VSV, is quoted in the broadcast on Tuesday. “Neither in the contract nor in the notification of the price change are the circumstances of the increase specified in such a way that the law would be satisfied.”
A spokeswoman for the association told APA on Tuesday that the prices had only been increased to the extent that was absolutely necessary. She confirmed the tariff increase in the basic service – but this adjustment automatically goes hand in hand with the general tariff increase, since the basic service tariffs, according to EIWOG, are based on the average prices for existing customers.
Specifically, the law states: “The general tariff for the basic service for consumers within the meaning of § 1 Para. 1 Z 2 KSchG may not be higher than the tariff at which the largest number of their customers who are consumers within the meaning of § 1 Para. 1 Z 2 KSchG are supplied will.” The increase will also take effect on March 1st, according to the spokeswoman.
Verbund increases electricity price for existing customers
VSV and Verbund already have an open legal dispute over the question of whether all electricity customers or only “vulnerable” are entitled to the favorable basic service tariff. The SAAM already filed a lawsuit here in December.
The energy price for customers with a standard load profile in the household segment rose in March to 23.9 cents per kWh net or 28.68 cents per kWh gross. That is also the value that will be required from March for the basic service, according to the association spokeswoman. The base price increases by an average of 22 cents per month based on the increase in the consumer price index (CPI).
Hardship fund set up
With regard to customers with payment difficulties, the association spokeswoman also referred to a hardship fund of 10 million euros that the association had set up. Furthermore, since 2009, the Caritas Association Electricity Aid Fund has been helping people in Austria affected by energy poverty. For 2023, the association has increased this support to Caritas to 5 million euros.
The procurement of end customer electricity quantities is based on long-term price hedging over a period of up to 2 years in advance in order to be able to offer prices that are as stable as possible, the association explained on Monday about the price adjustment. For new customers, the prices are lowered because price movements can be reacted to more quickly. Verbund-Vertrieb also had to buy electricity at market prices despite its own production within the group, the state-owned electricity company wrote in a press release on Monday.
For average existing customers with an annual electricity consumption of 3,500 kilowatt hours (kWh), the price increase, taking into account the nationwide electricity cost brake, means additional monthly costs of 5 euros (including sales tax). The federal electricity price brake applies up to an annual consumption of 2,900 kWh. With an annual consumption of less than 2,900 kWh, the price increase does not lead to an increase in energy costs, which applies to more than half of the existing Verbund customers. Energy costs make up around half of the energy bill, with the rest being due to network charges, taxes and levies.
In the new customer segment, price movements can be reacted to more quickly. The association reflects the wholesale prices, which are currently falling again from a very high level, with a tariff reduction to 33 cents per kWh net or 39.6 cents per kWh gross – from the last 41 cents net and 49.2 cents per kWh (gross).
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