About the grid
The grids distribute electricity and gas
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. To get this energy from the power plant or gas source to our homes, we need efficient and economical transportation networks at all levels of voltage or pressure. We distinguish between transmission and distribution.
The electricity transmission network is the extra-high voltage grid that transports electricity over long distances and distributes it to transformer stations. The electricity distribution network is the medium- and low-voltage grid you are connected to. It mostly serves to deliver electricity to consumers, but it must work both ways so that it can also take on your power if you are a “prosumer”, i.e. a consumer who also produces electricity.
The gas transmission network transports gas through high-pressure pipelines. The gas distribution network takes care of transports across regions at level 1 and of consumer supply at levels 2 and 3.
Systems and system operators in Austria
The Austrian electricity transmission grid counts about 7000 km for long-distance transports that are run by operator APG. They are complemented by about 260,000 km of grid at several voltage levels that deliver electricity to your home, handled by over 120 electricity system operators.
In gas, the 3,000 km transmission network delivers energy to a 43,000 km distribution network that is run by more than 20 gas system operators.
Each electricity or gas distribution system operator is responsible for delivering electricity or gas in a specified geographic area.
Your system operator
You need two partners to get your energy flowing: an electricity/gas supplier and a system operator. Where you live determines who your system operator is; it is not possible to choose a different one.
Your system operator takes care of
- building and developing the grid;
- maintaining it;
- handling any disturbances or other types of interruptions; and
- anything to do with your meter, e.g. installing, maintaining and reading it.
Do I ever deal with my electricity or gas system operator directly?
Your energy supplier surely plays a more prominent role and advertises its services more actively, but there are situations where you are in direct contact with your system operator.
- When you move homes, you need a system access contract with the system operator at your new address. This contract enables you to use the operator’s lines to get your electricity or gas.
- If you move into a newly built home, a connection to the operator’s system must be established.
- When you are due to get a new metering device, your system operator selects the adequate equipment and installs it.
- If you do not have a smart meter, your system operator manually reads your meter at least once every three years. In between, you can read your meter yourself and call your system operator or go to its website to submit the reading.
- Your system operator sends you bills for the system charges. If you get a combined bill from your supplier, it lists both the costs for your energy and your system charges, and your supplier will pass the latter part on to your system operator.
- If you experience any kind of disturbance with your electricity or gas supply, your system operator is the first number to call.
- If you smell gas in your home, call the gas emergency hotline at 128.
Do you have questions about the energy grids or your system operators?
We are happy to help with your concerns and answer your questions. By way of example, people are often interested in the following issues:
What do the Austrian electricity and gas grids look like?
How many system operators are there?
What about security of supply?
The grid charges change every year; how are the rates set, and what parts are they made up of?
What responsibilities does a system operator have?
What can I do in case of a power supply interruption?
What role do smart meters play in our future energy system?
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.