Energy poverty and war: VERBUND helps


Together, Caritas and VERBUND AG have assisted low-energy households for 12 years. VERBUND doubles funds for electricity aid funds, supports the Ukraine aid effort and donates a total of 1 million euros to joint aid campaigns.

In Austria, around 100,000 households were affected by energy poverty already before war broke out in Ukraine. Caritas President Michael Landau warns that their situation is becoming increasingly acute due to the enormous wave of inflation, especially in energy prices: "Especially those people who with a low income - people on minimum pension, single parents, people in precarious employment circumstances in particular - experience the full force of the energy price increase.” The reason for this is, on the one hand, that those affected can very often only afford poorly insulated apartments with windows that are not airtight, according to Landau. The consequences include very high energy bills and the resulting payment arrears. “Already no other topic concerns clients in the 56 social counselling centres of Caritas as much as housing and energy. People for whom the energy issue is now becoming an increasingly important question of existence need solutions such as the VERBUND electricity assistance fund, with which we have been able to help people in need unbureaucratically for 12 years now,” says Landau. 

Already before the war broke out in Ukraine the need for assistance with the issue of energy increased enormously - by 61% in the last four years. 
The economic shocks caused by the war would now further aggravate the situation, according to Landau: “Price increases will be felt by everyone, even if they don’t affect everyone with the same force. This means that people at risk of poverty will suffer much more under the rising prices. For them, the situation can quickly become very dramatic, as they are already spending the major part of their income on housing and energy.”

VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund initiated by Caritas - help in saving energy and assisting with energy poverty

As a true example of best practice, more than 3.3 million euros have already been implemented in the form of immediate aid, energy consulting and exchange equipment with the VERBUND electricity aid fund from Caritas, says Landau: “We have been able to assist 15,000 people since the project was launched. And we are also very grateful to VERBUND for making additional means available during the pandemic - which resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of requests at Caritas,” Landau welcomed the increase in funds. “In Austria, no-one should have to freeze or suffer from power cuts,” according to Michael Strugl, Chairman of the Executive Board at VERBUND AG. “It is important to us to not let people who are struggling financially down. That is why in 2022 we will be doubling the electricity assistance fund by a further 266,000 euros and in this way we will be able, together with Caritas, to help those to whom the current price increases are a particular burden,” says Strugl.

Also supporting Caritas aid in Ukraine

VERBUND is also supporting Caritas aid efforts in Ukraine with a donation of 500,000 euro plus individual donations from the workforce. “Our solidarity is with the people in Ukraine and also with those who have already had to leave their home country or will have to do so in future,” said Strugl. The VERBUND CEO also says that the consequences of the war and the ongoing corona pandemic on the energy sector, in the form of rapidly increasing energy prices, fears about supply bottlenecks and doubts about the right form of energy, will quickly and noticeably reach domestic households: "As the leading energy company in Austria, we are countering these and other challenges for the environment, society and the economy, which are triggered like a chain reaction, with immediate measures and a long-term strategy for the energy future.”

Ingun Metelko Ingun Metelko

Company Spokesperson

Send email

VERBUND electricity assistance fund from Caritas

The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund initiated by Caritas helps needy people in Austria to free themselves from the “energy trap”. Affected people can contact more than 30 Caritas social counselling centres across all the federal states.

To the electricity assistance fund