Electricity bills, the market has changed since July


By John

The last deadline is set for June 30th. It is the appointment for citizens who have already chosen the free market but want to go back to take the train of the market with gradual protections. A market in which competition from the first auctions has led to a reduction in electricity bill rates. Then from July the era of the protected market ends for electric. It will remain only for some ‘vulnerable’ ones. For everyone else, the gradual transition to competition opens. Greater competitiveness which everyone hopes will lead, as happened for telephony, to an overall reduction in bills. For now the transition appears to be smoothed out with many automatic mechanisms studied by the legislator and by Arera, the Authority that supervises the energy sector. There will be no negative surprises. On Thursday, Arera will announce the price adjustment of electricity bills according to the old rules and will remind you of the arrival of the new ones.

“The one on Thursday – the president told Ansa Stefano Besseghini – it will be the last quarterly update as we have known them to date, but in reality not much changes. Domestic customers who are currently in ‘greater protection’ will automatically move into ‘gradual protection’ without doing anything and not even vulnerable citizens will have to do anything, who will remain in the protection regime. Only those who are free and wish to return to ‘greater protection’, to then be transferred like the others to ‘gradual protection’, will have to hurry and request it by 30 June. The mechanisms on which we as an Authority have worked in recent months aimed precisely at making the steps as automatic as possible and I must note with satisfaction that this is happening”. For those who have already chosen the free market, the possibility of choosing to return to the protected market by 30 June is an opportunity. In this way it is possible to connect the ‘gradual protection’ service to which it automatically passes. This works for geographical areas and the electricity companies, to grab users in the auction that took place a few months ago, fought and lowered the tariffs. This is a transition phase, which will last just under three years, from 1 July 2024 to 31 March 2027, during which each customer will be assigned to the seller selected by Arera in the geographical area in which they are located.

The gradual protection service “has both economic and contractual advantages”, explains the president of the Consumerismo association Louis Gabriele. For users who are included in this service «a saving in terms of money of 130 euros per year has been calculated. – adds Gabriele – Furthermore, in the gradual protection service the contract is determined by the conditions given by the authority, here no one can refuse to supply me, unlike the free market”. The fact that the transition to ‘gradual protection’ is advantageous is also supported by Assoutenti. Which even speaks of an annual saving of 297 euros. And he criticizes the absence of an information campaign that illustrates this convenience. «The numbers provided by Arera – explain the consumers – certify that in May 2024 only 13,823 users abandoned the free market to return to the protected market (7,752 in April, 5,239 in March)».

Few saw the expected savings. Sand those who are now in the free market can choose to attach the ‘gradual protections’, those who are already in the protected market will have to do nothing. In fact, vulnerable domestic customers will remain within this category. Who I am? Those over 75, those who use electro-medical devices or live on non-interconnected islands, those with disabilities, those with a low income who receive social bonuses. They will continue to be served with greater protection even after July 1, 2024. But the direction is clear. Millions of Italians will gradually move from the protected energy market to the free one. Obviously, calls from call centers are increasing, interested in attracting potential new customers. In this climate of uncertainty, it is essential to pay attention to misleading advertisements and scams. Precisely for this reason, Arera, together with the Antitrust, promoted a campaign called “Defend yourself like this”. It is important to keep in mind, for example, that the operator who calls must always identify himself and that you are not obliged to conclude the contract by telephone, but that it is always possible to arrange multiple appointments.