Friday 28 July 2017

Café makes tourists pay for electricity to charge their phones

'I run a cafe, not an internet cafe'

Devices in a cafe... Photo: Deposit
Devices in a cafe... Photo: Deposit
Danube Canal) of Vienna, Austria. Photo: Deposit

James Titcomb

Café owners have long complained about customers abusing their electricity and Wi-Fi privileges: now one is taking action.

A café in Vienna has introduced a €1 charge for customers who use excess electricity after its owner complained about tourists on phones and laptops leading to higher electricity bills.

"Tourists - always electricity, electricity, electricity. Sorry but who is going to pay me for it?" Galina Pokorny, owner of the Terrassencafe im Hundertwasserhaus in central Vienna, told Reuters.

"I run a café, not an internet café. It's getting more and more extreme. People come and think everything is accessible and free... You don't even open your eyes in the morning for free."

Danube Canal) of Vienna, Austria. Photo: Deposit
Danube Canal) of Vienna, Austria. Photo: Deposit

News of the charge emerged after a reporter at the Austrian newspaper Oesterreich was presented with the €1 bill.

The first 15 minutes of electricity after a customer buys a coffee is free, but after that the charge is introduced. It applies to all devices - laptops, phones and tablets, and is multiplied for each gadget that is charged.

The actual cost of electricity to charge a phone is negligible - around a tenth of a penny - but café owners have become increasingly incensed at the excess time people are spending in their establishments simply to power up their mobiles.

Others have dropped free Wi-Fi in an attempt to curb squatters who sit at tables for hours.

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