Austria: Loans, cell phones, electricity rebates – what comes in April?

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Electricity and cell phones will become more expensive in many places, loans will become easier, and ÖBB will change its timetable. This and other things await you in the new month.

In April, Austrians will face changes that will affect most cell phone contracts, electricity prices, loan granting, and the ÖBB timetable in Salzburg. But what are the details of the changes?

From April 1, cell phone contracts will become more expensive. Partly it concerns price increases of over 8 percent. Affected are all cell phone contracts that contain value retention or index adjustment clauses. This means that mobile communications companies can raise prices (basic charges, flat service rates and sometimes individual services) during the contract term in line with the consumer price index. And the price increase will be substantial in 2023 due to high inflation.

➤ A1 will raise prices by 8.5 percent from April 1 by its GTC. This will affect basic and service charges (but also certain rate options such as cell phone guarantees). Customers will find the info on their bills.

➤ Cellphone provider – “Drei” will adjust the basic charge as of April 1 – between 8.5 and 11.5 percent depending on the rate. Phone rates will cost an average of 2.20 euros per month, and data rates an average of two euros more per month. Customers will find the information on their bills and the web, including an indexing calculator.

Magenta is raising the base rates for the affected rates by up to 8.6 percent.

➤ Smaller providers such as Hot, Spusu, georg, krone mobil, kurier mobil, yooopi. wowww, Simfonie, Rapid Mobil, Raiffeisen Mobil, and LiWest do not have index adjustment clauses in their GTCs. Yesss introduced index adjustment clauses in new contracts on January 16, 2023.

Last week, the market price for European natural gas fell below the 40 euro per megawatt-hour (MWh) mark for the first time since mid-2021. Energie-Control Austria expects that electricity and gas prices “will continue to fall in the coming weeks,” as explained to Puls 24.

➤ Wien Energie is lowering the price of natural gas for new customers as of April 1. The Optima Entspannt tariff will then fall from 17 cents to around 9 cents per kilowatt hour. Existing customers without a contract commitment could switch to this tariff at meine.wienenergie.at. The electricity price, in turn, would remain at around 34 cents net for now.

➤ To offer its customers favourable rates, Energieversorgung Niederösterreich (EVN AG) is taking an unusual route. As of April 1, 2023, EVN AG will terminate the contracts of nearly 300,000 old customers with a so-called Optima Klassik tariff. Customers recently received a new offer by registered mail with a one-year fixed price and commitment. Who does not react to the notice and does not look for a new offerer stands with 1—July without river and gas there.

➤ The Vorarlberg-based energy supplier Illwerke-vkw is planning an electricity price increase for household customers as of April 1 from the current 10 cents/kilowatt hour (net) to 24 cents. To cushion this, the Vorarlberg state government passed an electricity rebate into law at the beginning of March. No application is required. The rebate is quickly and unbureaucratically deducted directly from the electricity bill. Starting in April, natural gas costs will also increase by around 90 euros per month (calculated for a medium-sized household with an annual consumption of 15,000 kWh).

For older people, a change in lending will be relevant from April 1: In the future, banks will be allowed to take the probability of repayment and the existence of collateral into account more than the statistical life expectancy of the borrower. This will make it easier for seniors to finance a loan for repair work on their house or apartment.

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