Electricity, the free market starts: watch out for scams and teleselling


By John

In 2024, for every user who returned to the protected energy market, almost 20 flew to the free market, despite the absence of a real economic advantage. This is the calculation of Assoutentiwhich on the occasion of the end of the regime of greater protection releases some data relating to the electricity market in Italy and together with the association of utility managers raises the alarm on the risk of a boom in scams and teleselling.

Market movement data

In 2024, only 32,946 energy users returned from the free market to the protected one, compared to the 644 thousand consumers certified by Arera which, between January and June, instead passed to the free market. A disproportion, according to consumers, due to “the flop of the information campaign on gradual protections, which started in May with a serious delay and with negligible funds”.

It is necessary to remember that for all non-fragile people there is a right of withdrawal until April 2027. Gradual Protection Servicea transitional regime that, according to Arera, provides for a discount of 113 euros per year. By midnight tomorrow, those who have left, if they deem it appropriate, can return to the Greater Protection Service to then be able to move on to the Gradual Protection Service.

Energy companies’ final rush

With the end of the protected electricity market, there has also been a final rush by energy companies with a return to fixed-price contracts to attract customers. In the last week, Assoutenti reports that the best fixed-price offer for a “typical” domestic user with a consumption of 2,700 kWh per year and 3 kW of contracted power, presents a bill of 677.68 euros per year, throughout the national territory, dedicated specifically to those coming from the Maggior Tutela regime, which fixes the price of the energy component for 24 months. For variable-price contracts, however, the best offer for the same “typical” user sees an average annual bill of 703.93 euros. The fixed price therefore allows an average saving of approximately 26.3 euros per year compared to the variable.

Changes in the energy market

«After years in which energy companies preferred to protect themselves from possible new tensions on the energy price front by applying very high rates on fixed-price contracts, today we are witnessing a reversal of the trend which, although modest – explains the honorary president and head of energy at Assoutenti, Furio Truzzi – shows that there is ample room for a reduction in tariffs on the free market which in March, according to Arera data, were on average 47.7% higher than those on the protected market”.

Increase in aggressive practices

Consumers also find themselves faced with increasingly aggressive offering methods. “In the last period we have recorded a significant increase in cases of people who, with underhanded techniques, try to gain access to consumers’ homes or steal personal information through telephone calls for illicit commercial purposes. The concern is that, with the end of protection, these phenomena could expand beyond measure” – explains the president of Assium, the association that brings together utility managers, Federico Bevilacqua. «Phenomena that cause consequences for hundreds of millions of euros, damaging not only consumers, but also honest operators who act legally».