New appliances for people at risk of poverty –

Whether it's an old refrigerator, stove or another old or defective electrical appliance – they can become real energy guzzlers. Looking at the electricity bill it seems recent. This is especially difficult when money is already tight. In such cases, the Ministry of Environment's “Energy Saving at Home: Advice and Device Replacement” financial campaign is in effect from the end of February 2023.

Energy consultation and appliance replacement

In addition to primary residence in Austria, one of the following requirements must be met:

  • Exemption from broadcasting charges
  • Receipt of state heat cost subsidy
  • Receiving social assistance or compensation payments
  • Domestic help receipt

They are: Caritas energy saving advice

The fund is implemented by the social counseling centers Caritas and Volkshilfe Vienna. Counseling can take place over the phone, online or at counseling centers. A brief list of customers follows: First, the water temperature is measured to ensure that it is not too high – because that too consumes energy unnecessarily. Then we move on to the devices that need to be replaced.

If a device is really old and inefficient, a device replacement application is filled out. It takes four to six weeks for the device to be delivered. The old device is taken out and removed, and the new one is installed and explained. There is no cost to customers.

A great home appliance for a home

But not all appliances are replaced – for example, vacuum cleaners, televisions, coffee machines or blenders. “We can only exchange large household appliances. These are electric stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, freezers and deep freezers,” explains Wolfgang Studeny, Caritas' energy saving advisor to One appliance is served per household.

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Free finance available to low income earners. All are eligible who are exempt from broadcasting fees or who receive a heating subsidy, housing allowance, social assistance or compensation assistance from the federal states. If none of this help is available, the Community Advice Center can assess the family's entitlement and authorize it to do so.

30 million euros per year

30 million euros were budgeted for the campaign for 2023, and any excess costs were to be carried over to 2024. 30 million euros of funding is planned for the next three years – so the total, including 2023, will be a total of 120 million euros. According to the ministry's annual report, 4,119 early consultations, 3,091 energy saving consultations and 2,884 appliance deliveries have taken place till December 12.

Device exchange for people at risk of poverty

Older appliances in particular consume large amounts of electricity and this is noticeable in the electricity bill. It's especially difficult when money is tight anyway. Caritas offers free energy consultations in such cases. And under certain conditions you can get a new appliance for free.

Washing machines have so far made up about a quarter of appliance supply (26 percent or 750 units). Another quarter (24 percent) of appliances replaced were refrigerators and freezers, while electric stoves/ovens accounted for 16 percent and pure refrigerators 15 percent. The rest went into the freezer (eleven percent) and the dishwasher (eight percent).

Greater savings in electricity costs

With electricity estimated at 40 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and the average consumption of a new device of 150 kWh per year, according to the Ministry of the Environment, electricity costs are up to 100 euros per year per device. An old device with high consumption (350 to 400 kWh) can be saved. The annual CO2 storage capacity for previously replaced refrigerators/freezers alone is about 20 tons of CO2.

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