Rules for the free market
The legal basis for the liberalised Austrian energy markets is formed by the Elektrizitätswirtschafts- und -organisationsgesetz (Electricity Act) for electricity and by the Gaswirtschaftsgesetz (Natural Gas Act) for gas. In 2001, the legislator set up E-Control as an independent regulatory authority with the task and aim of ensuring compliance with these rules and promoting the liberalisation of the market for the benefit of the consumers.
Fig 1: E-Control's tasks
E-Control exercises an important function in overseeing the activities of the electricity and natural gas suppliers. In case there is reason to suspect non-compliant behaviour, E-Control can initiate a procedure to ensure compliance with the legal requirements. E-Control can also help solve issues between consumers and energy suppliers. By opening dispute settlement procedures, it can help consumers claim their rights. In cooperation with the energy undertakings, E-Control establishes market rules which ensure functioning markets.
Austrian system operators are regulated by E-Control. This means that the charges system operators may invoice to the consumers are determined by the Regulation Commission. The Regulation Commission also approves the general terms and conditions of the system operators.
As an independent institution, E-Control stands ready to assist consumers with any questions they have relating to electricity or natural gas, whether they do not understand their electricity or gas bill or disagree with their supplier. E-Control offers its Tariff Calculator for a really simple price comparison, helps with tips on saving energy and offers personalised information via its hotline.