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System charges, taxes and surcharges for a low-consumption home

Mr F. contacted our dispute settlement service with his last annual bill. The bill was for a holiday home and electricity and gas consumption there were very low. He had noted that he paid more in grid charges, taxes and surcharges than in energy costs and was wondering how this was possible.

Good to know: Mr F. is right. If your consumption is very low, you will have low costs for the energy you use. System charges, taxes and surcharges can be much higher than that. This is because if you consume very little energy, most of the cost components which appear on your network charges bill are flat rates, such as the charge for your connection capacity, metering charges or the flat-rate renewables charge. Many people also contact us to ask why they have to pay VAT on the green electricity charges on their bill. The answer lies in Austrian VAT law. This provides that VAT applies to all the revenue from supplies or services. The community levy, flat-rate renewables charge and renewables contribution are part of the system operator’s revenues, even though they are passed on to the green power settlement agent. How to avoid this situation: Though you cannot fully avoid this, it pays off to look for an energy product without a base price if your consumption is very low. This way, at least you have no flat-rate for the energy part of your bill, and if you do not use much energy even a possibly higher energy price might be cheaper in the end.