Energy supply is a public task / Half of the average household electricity consumption is free / The tariff increases gradually depending on consumption
Vienna (OTS) – In the current debate on rising energy prices, Attac calls for “basic energy demand” with progressive tariffs – especially in the event of overconsumption. The proposal makes basic energy supply a public task and thus combines social and environmental challenges.
“Energy for a warm apartment, a cooking stove, electricity for lighting and the Internet are both a basic necessity and a valuable public good. Therefore, basic energy supplies must be guaranteed for all and must not be dependent on speculative markets. At the same time, given the climate crisis, it is imperative that we as a society reduce our energy consumption. A simple price cap does not contribute to this. Basic energy demand ensures that everyone’s basic needs are met and at the same time provides strong incentives to save energy, ”explains Iris Frey from Attac Austria.
Progressive tariffs lead to large cost reductions
For example, in the field of electricity, every household should be provided with half of the average consumption per household – financed by the public sector, free of charge. The price to 80 percent of consumption should be further limited. Tariff levels above this level should gradually rise sharply due to government subsidies and make wasteful consumption of luxury goods immensely more expensive. Thus, the costs of average household consumption could have stabilized slightly above the level of the previous year. However, the incentive to save energy would be very high.
“According to the Austrian Statistics Office, high-income households consume on average 50 percent more electricity than low-income households (1). Basic energy demand requires those who consume the most to pay without jeopardizing the basic supply of others, ”explains Lisa Mittendrein from Attac Austria.
Higher consumption finances basic entitlements
The costs of public price equalization for basic electricity allowance amount to approximately EUR 3.2 billion per year. Additional income from progressive tariffs can easily cover these costs due to the excessive tax on the profits of energy companies.
Necessary exceptions and accompanying measures
Energy supply and consumption are complex and individual, therefore the basic energy demand in the field of electricity also requires exceptions:
- Additional consumption for health reasons
Physical problems and limitations should be free.
- Additional consumption for heat pumps, electric heating or electric hot water preparation must be limited.
- Households with ineffective electric boilers and electric heaters should also be supported as soon as possible when making the shift. The consumption of electric cars should also be taken into account.
Moreover, there is a need to support low energy consumption households through transfer payments. Due to the rapid energy transformation, all electricity consumption must be available in an environmentally friendly manner.
WIFO is to test electricity and heat
Attac is currently developing specific models with prices and tariff levels for electricity, district heating and gas. Attac calls on the government and WIFO to investigate progressive tariff levels above the fundamental right to electricity and heat. “The previous proposals are limited to electricity, which is totally insufficient,” explains Mittendrein.
“Basic energy demand is the basis for a socially fair conversion of the energy system. However, as one requirement alone it will not solve all the problems of our energy system. The current crisis shows that public and democratic control of energy production is necessary in the medium term, ”explains Frey.
(1) Electricity consumption of low average electricity households per year about 3610 kWh with average household income 4440 kWh, high income group is almost 5400 kW:
final report_energy consumption_energy poverty.pdf)