VERBUND donates 5 million euros for people in need


VERBUND donates millions to help people in the inflation crisis. Caritas president Landau: "Solidarity and real help on many levels!"

hardship is on the increase in Austria. On the one hand, the situation of people who were already affected by poverty is worsening. On the other, hardship is spreading to increasing numbers of people. More than one in every three households can no longer cover its average expenditure. The entire lowest third on the income scale is massively at risk, tipping over into the spiral of poverty for the first time ever. Caritas president Michael Landau: "The number of people who previously got by OK, who though they would never need help, is rising. Poverty and the risk of poverty is penetrating right into the heart of our society. The measures taken by the federal government are good and important. But the fact is, inflation is rising and price increases such as those in the energy sector far exceed the support provided. 

Many people are now turning to Caritas. In particular, the high and constantly increasing energy prices right before winter pose an existential threat for many. Landau: "Requests for the payment of arrears for electricity and gas often extend to four digits and so quickly become a question of existence. Due to exploding annual bills, many people no longer know how they will cope in the coming months." The situation requires help on all levels, says Landau: "Additional costs definitely require more help. First and foremost, politicians are naturally asked to provide sufficient and targeted support. Secondly, aid organisations must respond to needs accordingly by adjusting and expanding their offer. And finally, players in the private sector are now also required to take responsibility." 
VERBUND boosts electricity assistance fund of Caritas to record level 

VERBUND is meeting this responsibility. Nothing new: the VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund of Caritas has been helping people in need in Austria out of the energy trap for 13 years. Almost 16,000 people have been supported to date. VERBUND is now boosting the electricity assistance fund with a record donation of 5 million euros. 
"The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund of Caritas has been helping people at risk of energy poverty for 13 years. This aid has never been as important as it is now," says Michael Strugl, CEO of VERBUND. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is having a global impact, energy is being used as an economic weapon. This is causing massive upheaval on the European energy markets, which is being felt in extreme price rises for customers of gas and electricity. "As Austria's leading energy company, we are focusing on the expansion of the renewable energies of hydropower, wind and solar power, including electricity grids and energy storage facilities, in order to be able to wean ourselves off fossil imports in the long term and achieve our climate targets. And we help where we can, for example, by supporting VERBUND customers with free months of electricity and planning the disbursement of a special dividend. I am especially happy that we are able to support our longstanding partner Caritas with a donation of five million euros, in order to be able to help people affected by poverty across Austria – regardless of who their energy supplier is. In difficult times like these, solidarity is particularly important and I thank Caritas for the many years of active partnership." 

Landau expresses his thanks: "The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund has already helped thousands of people out of emergency situations also given new perspectives with energy consulting and appliance replacement. It is a real best practice example which helps people in need and at the same time is good for the climate. We are really pleased that we are able to expand the aid to such an extent, especially in the current crisis. Because it means very specific aid for those who urgently need it right now, and a big sign of solidarity for people who are currently being hit full force by rising prices. For this, I say thank you with all my heart."

VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund of Caritas: a story of helping

The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund of Caritas was launched in November 2009. The target group is people on low incomes. This is because they spend a greater proportion of their pay on energy than people on higher incomes. Reasons for this are thermally inefficient apartments and houses, old inefficient household appliances and heating systems as well as higher consumption due to living conditions and a lack of knowledge about energy saving options. The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund helps on all these levels: almost 5,000 energy consultations have been performed and 3,300 appliances replaced since the project began. A third important pillar is the bridging aid for outstanding gas and electricity bills, which was tripled by VERBUND in 2022, the year of high inflation.

One of the almost 16,000 people supported by the fund is Maria, and elderly lady from Vienna. She is single and lives off her minimum pension. Her boiler did not work well, so she had to battle with very high energy costs. She was unable to afford to have her boiler repaired. An energy consultation revealed that her apartment is also very poorly insulated. Although Maria leads a very thrifty life, she was still only able to heat her apartment in winter to just over 15 degrees. The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund made it possible for Maria to have her gas boiler repaired; in addition, her old fridge was replaced and she was able to pay off her high level of outstanding bills. 

Landau: "Many people across the country are now facing a similar situation to Maria. Also with the climate crisis in mind, it is clear that the solidarity of everyone is needed. The VERBUND electricity assistance fund and the longstanding collaboration between VERBUND and Caritas has become a visible sign of the willingness to cooperate and solidarity with people on the margins of society. Today, I would like to say thank you, especially for the long-term cooperation."

Ingun Metelko Ingun Metelko

Company Spokesperson

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VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund of Caritas

Caritas and VERBUND have been helping people in hardship across Austria out of energy poverty with the electricity assistance fund project since 2009.

To the electricity assistance fund