VERBUND Electricity Assistance Fund with Caritas

The VERBUND-sponsored Electricity Assistance Fund set up by Caritas helps needy people in Austria free themselves from the "energy trap".

Often a below-average income goes hand in hand with above-average energy usage. Michael Landau, President of Caritas Austria, counts on help that really lends a hand. "With our partner VERBUND, we make it possible for affected persons to get professional energy consulting, replacement appliances and bridge financing for electricity bills. These are exactly the kinds of assistance that we are asked about again and again."

Supporting Caritas projects of Ukraine Aid in Austria

The VERBUND-sponsored electricity assistance fund initiated by Caritas has been helping people in need in Austria for 12 years. Apart from this commitment, VERBUND will also support Caritas projects of Ukraine Aid in Austria in the coming years. A total of €5m will benefit projects in the area of Caritas property furnishing over the next few years. The primary focus will be on accommodation for orphaned children as well as people with disabilities.

How help arrives

Affected people can contact more than 30 Caritas social counselling centres across all the federal states. First, the individual situation is analysed and the right measures identified. The fund can be utilised regardless of which energy company the household gets its electricity from. Between 400 and 500 households can be supported in this way each year. VERBUND also finances the energy consulting, some of which incurs a fee, and organises the support services, such as transporting the replacement appliances. Other companies are also invited to participate in the 3-pillar principle of the electricity assistance fund.

Energy consulting

Certified energy consultants in all federal provinces visit the affected households of people who seek assistance from Caritas to assess how and in what ways energy (not only electricity) can be saved, e.g. through the use of energy-saving domestic appliances, new window seals and many others.

Appliance replacement

The VERBUND electricity assistance fund of Caritas supports the replacement of power-hungry appliances for power-saving ones. The domestic appliance brands Bosch, Siemens and Neff provided thrifty branded appliances right from the outset. In this way, energy consumption is lowered sustainably and for the long term, and energy costs are reduced.

Bridging financing

If a household is unable to pay its electricity bill and is not eligible to pay in instalments, the electricity assistance fund promptly steps in before the power is cut off – by whichever electricity provider. In this way, the household also saves the costs associated with having the supply turned back on. The bridging assistance is subject to energy consulting plus any efficiency measures. One year after the energy measures are put in place, the energy consultant assesses their efficiency.