Austria’s open markets
Austria completely opened its electricity market in 2001; the natural gas market followed suit one year after. For you as a consumer, this means that you can freely choose your supplier. The suppliers on the market compete with each other for customers.
This also means that suppliers can choose what electricity or gas prices to offer. By the same token, consumers can choose among different suppliers and different prices. You can shop around for the cheapest offer and freely select a supplier.
This is not true for the networks: the electricity and gas grids are regulated by E-Control. They are monopolies and thus do not compete with each other.
Regardless of the supplier you’ve chosen, it is the network operator that is responsible for your connection, for maintenance of the network and meter reading. For this service, the system operator receives regulated system charges that are separately stated on your bill.