Raise checks and height – fuel price commission has started working

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Raise checks and height – fuel price commission has started working

The first meeting of the price committee under article 5 of the price law started on Thursday morning. It involves examining the prices of fuel and heating oil. “We will monitor very carefully whether there are any unjustified price increases,” said Economy Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) ahead of the meeting. The social partners and the relevant ministries are represented in the committee, which was appointed at the request of the Chamber of Labor (AK).

This is the first price commission since 2008. In a two-stage test, it is first determined whether the price is disproportionate compared to other countries. If that is the case, it will be determined whether the price increases were unjustified. According to Kocher, it is also being examined whether there are specific factors in Austria that would justify higher prices. The design and duration of the procedure are not specified.

AK presents application
Today the AK presents and accounts for its application, after which the committee determines its course of action together. There are several ways to collect data, for example directly from the companies involved, and experts can also be consulted.

“A handful of companies, six if I remember correctly” were affected, which the minister did not want to say when asked. However, these are local mineral oil companies and companies that are not based in Austria but offer here. As to whether there will be audits, as requested by the AK, Kocher said “I don’t want to prejudge the Commission”, information has already been requested from the companies and further steps can be considered based on this.

Capping would be possible
Depending on the result of the test, a cap on fuel prices is a possibility, but there are also other approaches. In any case, it is important to look at the effect of such a fuel price ceiling on the quantities supplied. In other countries, price caps have led to supply bottlenecks, Kocher says. “The prices are on the one hand, but the security of supply is the other.”

“We have ongoing price monitoring in our ministry, which indicates that there are no disproportionate prices in Austria,” the minister said. But that’s not the end of the test, there are other ways to look at different areas, “this is all being carefully checked now and so I’m certainly not pre-empting this test”.

The law does not apply to gas and electricity
The price law in Austria covers fuel, heating oil and food. The prices for gas, energy and electricity are not covered, so a price commission for these areas is not legally possible in Austria. “There are instruments at European level,” said the minister.

Source: Krone

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