More and more people in Austria are struggling with high living and energy costs. Energy poverty and its negative consequences occur most often wherever there is very low income, even if not all low-income households can be classified as energy-poor.
"That people have to decide between heating their homes and cooking, should not happen. No child in Austria should have to do their homework in a cold house or sleep in a mouldy room" says Caritas President Michael Landau, pointing to the precarious conditions of those affected. High energy prices place ever-increasing pressure particularly on those who are affected by poverty. "Due to these experiences, VERBUND and Caritas together founded the VERBUND electricity fund from Caritas in fighting energy poverty" adds VERBUND CEO Wolfgang Anzengruber. "It was our goal back then and remains our goal now to assist in a rapid and unbureaucratic and above all sustainable way. It pleases me that we have been able to so successfully take part in this programme for 5 years."
This is how the VERBUND electricity fund from Caritas provides help
The VERBUND electricity fund works in three ways: by providing immediate financial aid for the payment of open electricity and gas bills, professional energy advice in the household of the person affected and the exchange of old, electricity-wasting appliances.
Since the start of the project, VERBUND electricity funds has financially supported 2600 households with a total investment volume of 1.266 million euros, independent of electricity suppliers.
1760 households up until now have received free-of-charge energy advice.1200 households received electricity-saving appliances such as washing machines, fridge-freezers or electric hobs. Thus, a volume of 3415 megawatt hours could be saved.
Ms. M from Vienna
Ms. M is single and lives on a minimum pension. She has to struggle with high energy costs because she has a badly functioning boiler, which needs to be repaired. She can, however, not afford the repairs alone. Thanks to the energy advice from the VERBUND electricity funds from Caritas, it has been discovered that the apartment is very poorly insulated. Although Ms. M lives very modestly, she can only heat her apartment between 15-18°C. With the financing of the electricity funds, Ms. M was able to repair her gas boiler and thus the energy costs were sustainably lowered. Furthermore, the exchanging of her out-dated fridge-freezer meant she could make further energy savings.