Exemption from renewable electricity charges
The Austrian Ökostromgesetz (Green Electricity Act) entered into force on 1 July 2012. Recipients of social assistance or long-term care benefits, pensioners and students can be exempted from payment of the flat-rate renewables charge and the part of the renewables contribution exceeding € 20. To be eligible for such an exemption, a household's income may not exceed the Ausgleichszulagenrichtsatz thresholds by more than 12%.
They are the same thresholds that apply for exemptions from the TV and radio licence fee. If you are already exempted from the latter in accordance with the Fernsprechentgeltzuschussgesetz (Call Charges Support Act), you only need to send your last electricity bill in to GIS Gebühren Info Service GmbH (GIS) to be exempted from the green electricity costs as well.
E-Control has issued the dedicated Befreiungsverordnung Ökostrom (Green Electricity Cost Exemption Ordinance) that regulates how the exemption process is to be conducted.
Further information on green electricity costs and exemptions
What are the flat-rate renewables charge and the renewables contribution? Electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as wind, biomass or solar power (PV), is more expensive than electricity from fossil fuels (such as natural gas or coal) or from existing large hydropower plants. Parts of the additional costs created by this renewable electricity generation are covered through the flat-rate renewables charge and the renewables contribution. Both of these are payable by consumers. You'll see them on your annual electricity bill: in German, they are called Ökostrompauschale and Ökostromförderbeitrag. The former is a charge per metering point, fixed at € 33 per year for household consumers. The latter is calculated on the basis of your system charges; for instance, with an annual consumption of 3,500 kWh, it amounts to about € 26 per year.
What can I be exempted from? The flat-rate renewables charge per metering point is € 33 per year. The renewables contribution is stated in cent/kWh and reaches the € 20 threshold when annual electricity consumption amounts to about 2,300 kWh. An exemption is possible for the € 33 of the flat-rate renewables charge and for any amount of the renewables contribution beyond € 20.
Where can I apply for an exemption? Applications for an exemption from the green electricity costs must be handed in to GIS, via a dedicated form that can be downloaded in German from the GIS website. It is also available at your municipality's offices and your local Raiffeisenbank branch. If you were already exempted from the TV and radio licence fee on 1 July 2012, GIS made contact with you during the weeks after to inform you about the possibility for an exemption from the green electricity costs. Once you have handed in your application, GIS will inform you about whether it has been accepted or not.
As of 1 July 2012, GIS has also established a dedicated hotline: 0810 00 10 80
How much income can a household have (as of 01/01/2017) to qualify for an exemption?
Please note that the thresholds are revised at the beginning of each year.
- Single-person households: € 996.62
- Two-person households: € 1,494.27
- Increasing by € 153.78 for each additional person
When does my exemption start? How long is it valid for? If you are eligible for an exemption, it applies from the first day of the month following your application with GIS. It is valid for the same period of time as the proof you have provided of your income, but in no case for more than five years. Please note that you must inform GIS without delay if your income changes.
Do I have to inform my system operator or electricity supplier that I am exempted? No. If your application has been approved, GIS sends your name and address to your system operator and informs it about the period of time for which the exemption applies. The system operator will then take the green electricity costs off your bill.