"Living, heating and energy are topics that affect all of us. And yet, at the end of the month, more and more people in Austria are confronted by the question whether to use the remaining money for food or for heat. 229,000 people all over Austria cannot keep their homes reasonably warm", states Caritas president Michael Landau. "The people who contact our social counselling centres only have about 8.50 euro per person and day after deducting their fixed costs. Every 5th person actually has less than 3.50 euro. These people are often looking for help because they can no longer pay their energy bills. Often these are single parents, people on a minimum pension, or families with several children, freezing within their own four walls. Thanks to the VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund, we are able to assist people in a practical and effective way. My sincere thanks for the longtime support!"
"Now more than eight years ago, in cooperation with Caritas, we started the VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund to help combat energy poverty", says VERBUND Chairman of the Board Wolfgang Anzengruber. "Our goal then was, and is to this day, to help quickly, unbureaucratically and above all sustainably. I am very pleased that we have been able to support people in Austria affected by poverty for such a long time, in a sustainable and effective way."
Track record of the Caritas and VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund
3,700 households with more than 8,500 people have been supported within the framework of the VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund since its inception in 2009. The households received an average of 100 euros of financial aid for electricity bills. More than 1,800 household electrical appliances have been replaced and 2,700 energy consultations carried out.
Since 2009, by means of consultation and appliance replacement, a total of about 4250 MwH of energy or 618 tonnes of CO2 equivalents have been saved. An evaluation of the data from 182 households in Vienna, Lower Austria and Upper Austria showed: For 72 percent of the households, one year after the second consultation, the aid measures had achieved electricity savings of an average of 302 euros per year.
Here's how the Caritas VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund helps
The Caritas VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund was initiated in order to help people in Austria escape energy poverty. Above-average energy usage combined with below-average incomes often leads to people being overstrained by heating and energy costs. The goal is to give people more assurance in dealing with their energy costs, as well as to make means available for lowering electricity costs over the long term.
In the 36 Caritas social counselling centres in all of Austria, households are being supported that are especially affected by energy poverty. The people are helped very practically in three steps: With financial aid for settling unpaid energy bills or high back payments, with professional energy consulting for the household, and by replacing old, power-guzzling electrical appliances.
More information on the VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund: