Austrian Parliament approves energy costs subsidy for businesses
On 6 July 2022, the Austrian Parliament passed the Business Energy Costs Subsidy Act (UEZG). The approval of the Federal Council followed on 13 July 2022. It remains to be seen whether the European Commission will approve or at least not block the legislation, with publication in the Federal Law Gazette to follow.
The declared goal of the business energy costs subsidy is to reduce the burden of very high energy costs on affected energy-intensive companies. The total volume of the direct subsidy amounts to EUR 450m.
Energy-intensive companies are eligible to apply if they have their legal seat or a permanent establishment in Austria; and have energy and electricity procurement costs amounting to at least 3% of the production value or pay domestic energy tax amounting to at least 0.5% of value added. Parts of additional expenditure on own consumption of fuel, electricity, and gas, which were incurred after 1 February 2022, may be subsidised by up to EUR 400,000 per company. Depending on the degree of the impact and the industry, a higher subsidy may be granted for electricity and natural gas.
The financial support will be granted in the form of a subsidy and will be paid out following successful application and accounting settlement. Applications can be made for circumstances arising in the period 1 February 2022 to 31 December 2022.
Important to note is the ban on receiving multiple forms of subsidy contained in the Act. Financial support for other eligible costs by other public bodies is not permissible. Other forms of support for energy and electricity prices must therefore be deducted when calculating the eligible costs. If support is granted under the Austrian Electricity Costs Credit Act 2022 (SAG), a subsidy for increased electricity costs under the UEZG in 2022 is excluded (however, at present the SAG legislation is still only a ministerial draft).
Austria Wirtschaftsservice (AWS) will manage the subsidy programme under the UEZG. Further details will be provided in subsidy guidelines which are expected to be published in Autumn 2022.
Authors: Christiane Zöhrer, Margarete Kinz