Austria – A collateral consequence of the war in Ukraine is already being felt in Austria, which imports 80% of its gas from Russia as compared to a 40% average across the whole EU. Austria is therefore now facing a drastic increase in gas and electricity prices.
Electricity bills going up 57% in Salzburg province
In recent days Austrian consumers were sent letters from their energy supplier announcing new price conditions coming into effect from 1 April.
In Carinthia, for example, the price of electricity with the “classic” tariff will rise from 9.576 cents/kWh to 13.598 cents/kWh, an increase of 42%!
In the Salzburg province, Salzburg AG announced on 25 February a 57% increase in electricity rates for private customers from 1 April.
Russia could halt gas deliveries
As the magazine Profile wrote on 26 February, Austria has 18% of its gas reserves remaining. This means that the country is safe in the event that Russia suddenly shuts off the tap, but the situation could become critical next winter. Georg Zachmann of the Brussels think tank Bruegel considers that
“it is quite possible that Russia will stop deliveries next winter. (…) All we can do is hope for a mild winter.”
A gas shortage would also affect the economy and could directly threaten nearly 10,000 jobs.
Alternatives to fossil fuels
Under such circumstances, the Austrian Biomass Association is calling for the the fastest possible exit from fossil fuel imports. Its chairman, Franz Titschenbacher, explained: “We have to realize that we are disastrously dependent on an unpredictable dictator for natural gas and oil, and we are paying for this in our energy bills. (…)
Given the invasion of Putin’s troops in Ukraine and Russia’s threats to double the price of gas, we need national solidarity to phase out fossil fuel imports and develop all our renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.”