Bills, it’s decided: from 2024 free market for everyone
Are approximately 9 million the Italians who will have to switch to free market for electricity by 10 January 2024. If they do not do it autonomously, their supply will be assigned ex officio and by auction to a new operator. These are the rules defined by Ministerial Decree which establishes the criteria and methods for the transition to the free market of non-vulnerable domestic customers. The end of the protection also for gas is expected from January. A sign of the Meloni government’s willingness to accelerate the end of the greater protection for the electricity and gas bills of families and small businesses.
Click here to find out all the details of the latest Bills Decree. To know the dates of the transition of SMEs to the free market and to know in detail what will happen in the transitional phase.
The date for the switchover is set for end of 2023. By 10 January 2024 – as established by the decree – electricity users still on the protected market will have to abandon the market whose conditions are periodically established by the Energy Authority and to negotiate new conditions on the free market. In the absence of a choice by users, these will come assigned to other operators, selected through competitive procedures managed by the Single Buyer, who will provide the service with gradual protection. The transitional period cannot go beyond April 1, 2024.
The users involved in the transition from the standard offer to the free market – according to estimates by the Sole 24 Ore – are about 9 million for supplies energy electric and 7 million for gas but the rules stipulate that only non-vulnerable users should switch to the free market. For “vulnerable” means “people who are in economically disadvantaged conditions or who are in serious health conditions, such as to require the use of medical-therapeutic equipment powered by electricity, necessary for their survival; people with disabilities; users located in emergency housing facilities following calamitous events; users over the age of 75″. From the calculations reported by Il Sole 24 Ore “users in the electricity sector non-vulnerable could be 5 or 6 million out of an audience of 9 million; for the gas sector there are no quantifications, but perhaps it could be 4-5 million” while “the audience that will have to leave the greater protection regime could be around 10 million people”.
The gradual protection service
Il Gradual Protection Service is the service prepared by Arera for accompany the passage to the free electricity market after the removal of price protection (protected market). Automatically fall within the Gradual Protection Service, without any interruption in the supply of electricity, all non-household customers which do not have a seller on the free market. The Gradual Protection Service – explains Arera – comes provided by selected sellers through specific competitive procedures. Each territorial area is served by a single supplier, which can also serve several areas at the same time. The contractual conditions correspond to those of the offers a Free Price Under Equivalent Protection Conditions (PLACET offers) (invoicing methods and times, content of billing documents, guarantees to be requested from the customer, payment times and methods, payment methods and the application of default interest in the event of non-payment by the end customer). The economic conditions relating to expenditure on energy are based on the final values of the PUN, and include fees to cover other procurement and marketing costs. The price paid by end customers also depends on the level of parameters offered by each operator of the Gradual Protection Service in each territorial area in which the service is assigned.
Graduated protections for small businesses
Regard all small businesses (number of employees between 10 and 50 and/or annual turnover between 2 and 10 million euros) holders of “low voltage” withdrawal points and a part of micro-enterprises (less than 10 employees and annual turnover not exceeding 2 million euros) owners of at least one withdrawal point with contractually committed power exceeding 15 kW, who do not have an electricity supplier on the free market.
And for micro-enterprises
It’s about the micro-enterprises (mless than 10 employees and annual turnover not exceeding 2 million euros) owners only of withdrawal points with contractually committed power not exceeding 15 kW and different non-household customers by micro-enterprises owning only withdrawal points with contractually committed power not exceeding 15 kW, which do not have an electricity supplier on the free market. For these customers, the activation date of the gradual protection service was extended to 1 April 2023. In the period between 1 January 2023 and 31 March 2023, those who have not yet chosen a seller on the free market are still temporarily served by their enhanced protection operator, under the same active conditions, thus ensuring continuity of supply.