Knowing your way around the energy market
Almost all households in Austria are connected to the electricity grid, and about a third of them get gas as well. Energy is all but omnipresent in our day-to-day lives. Often, we think of it as a matter of course. It’s normal for us that we can switch on lights, wash our clothes, heat our homes, cook meals and do a million other important things.
There are about 150 electricity suppliers in Austria, and 50 suppliers of gas, with as many sets of rates and offers. Some of them offer nationwide, others specialise in individual provinces or regions. Depending on where you live, you can choose between 20 different suppliers of electricity and 10 different companies that offer gas.
Two partners each for electricity and gas
As a consumer, you have an electricity or gas supplier, and you have a system operator. The supplier is the one you get your energy from. It buys this energy from domestic producers or from abroad, or it produces its own energy. Then, it feeds the electricity or gas into the grid and charges it to you, at its energy rates. Suppliers compete with each other on the free market, and you can choose which one to contract.
The system operator is responsible for operating and maintaining the grid, and for all services to do with your meter, e.g. installation and meter reading. Where you live determines who your system operator is; it is not possible to choose a different one. System operators do not decide their rates themselves; instead, they are fixed by E-Control’s Regulation Commission.
A third element are the taxes and surcharges which are levied by the state, the federal provinces or the municipalities. For instance, both electricity and gas are subject to VAT.
Are you happy with your supplier’s services and have stayed with it for years? Or do you regularly switch?
People switch their energy suppliers for a variety of reasons.
- It saves money on energy
Prices often vary considerably among different suppliers. Why not run a tariff calculator query (in German) and see for yourself?
- Bills are easier to understand
You always have two contracts for your electricity or gas: one with your supplier, the other one with your system operator. This means you also get two bills. But many suppliers send you a single bill, including all charges – they then take care of passing on the grid charges to your system operator. Many customers find this to be easier to understand.
- You can benefit from discounts
Many electricity and gas suppliers offer considerable discounts to new customers, which makes them very attractive. In our tariff calculator (in German), you can activate or deactivate these discounts. If you choose a supplier that grants you a large one-off discount because you are a new customer, remember to come back in one year and check whether it pays off for you to switch suppliers again.
- You can choose where your energy comes from
Many customers want to make a statement by buying green electricity or electricity generated in Austria. The tariff calculator (in German) clearly shows all this information.
- It emphasises the importance of customer service
Good or bad customer service might be a reason to stay with your supplier or to switch. Many people want access to a variety of online services, a helpline, and generally friendly and kind service.
If you are moving, or if you just need a hand with switching suppliers, we are here to help. You can use our tariff calculator (in German): all you need is your postcode and your annual consumption in kWh; you can then filter and compare the different offers and take an informed decision. Or you can give us a call or write to us: our energy hotline is available at 0800 21 20 20 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
What issues do we deal with?
Energy is a matter of our money, our environment and our future. But it also gobbles up a considerable part of our household expenses and our fixed costs. At E Control, we can help you take informed decisions for your family and yourself. Consumers contact us with all kinds of questions, for instance:
- How many suppliers are there in Austria?
- How much can I save by switching to a different supplier?
- I’m moving; how can I ensure that my electricity and gas supply are not interrupted, and how can I switch suppliers in this situation?
- How much is 1 kWh electricity or gas?
- Which suppliers have lately changed their rates?
- What are the different items listed on my electricity and gas bill?
For answers to questions such as these, you can call our energy hotline (0800 21 20 20), or you can use one of the several other ways to contact us.