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Austria sets up task force to investigate situation on electricity and gas market

Christian Fernsby |
The electricity and gas markets continue to be highly volatile.

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Prices have surged since the end of 2021, with these price hikes now being passed on to consumers. Wholesale prices for electricity and gas have been falling significantly again over the past few weeks.

However, the number of complaints and enquiries received by both E-Control and the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) continues to grow. Consumers are particularly unhappy about the large differences in prices for existing and new customers, as well as the variation in the energy offers from different suppliers.

To ensure that the observed price cuts reach consumers’ pockets, it is vital that competition on the liberalised energy market is effective and works well.

“The Austrian Federal Competition Authority is currently focusing its efforts on markets that are of particular importance to both consumers and the economy as a whole. This includes energy markets.

The current challenges in this sector can only be tackled by the AFCA and E-Control working closely together,” explains interim Director General Natalie Harsdorf-Borsch.

“Consumers have completely lost track of the electricity and gas market.

Wholesale prices are currently falling but it will of course take some time for these cuts to reach end consumers.

The big question is: how long will it take compared with how quickly prices have been increased in the past? At the same time, consumers are in some cases facing huge increases in their energy payments, despite the fact that the energy price cap should absolutely be taken into account.

There must be transparency about which prices are passed on when in order to restore confidence in the market.

Together with Austrian Federal Competition Authority, we have therefore agreed to set up a task force that will look into the current situation on the energy markets as well as energy suppliers’ behaviour. Close monitoring should bring about more transparency,” adds Wolfgang Urbantschitsch, Executive Director of E-Control.

The initial findings are due to be presented in the second quarter of 2023. The task force is set to monitor the market until the middle of 2024 when the energy price cap ends.


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