No postponement of the transition from the protected market to the free one, for gas bills first (from January) and then electricity (from April). But some interventions to oil it – essentially an information campaign and monitoring of the prices applied – without “going back” on the promise to open the energy market further, also written in the Pnrr and good for the collection of the third instalment.
The Council of Ministers, sources at Palazzo Chigi say, has approved new rules in view of the end of the protected energy market: a solution, it is explained, identified after discussions with the EU which will allow us not to miss the Pnrr objective provided with the third installment and at the same time to protect the most “vulnerable” groups.
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These are therefore provisions included in the Energy Decree approved by the government.
Palazzo Chigi reminds you that – as the current regulations already provide – approximately four and a half million “vulnerable” families are excluded from the transitionwho will continue to benefit from electricity supplies at controlled prices even following the liberalization of the market. The “vulnerable” are those over 75, those who receive bonuses for disadvantaged economic conditions, those who benefit from law 104 and – for electricity – those who have life-saving machinery at home. For these people, Palazzo Chigi talks about the provision of a supply obligation for the economic operator identified following a public procedure regulated by Arera. And the maintenance of controlled prices even after the definitive cessation of the protected market regime.
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The government further explains that for the other families, currently in the protected market and corresponding to around four and a half million users, “measures are being introduced to ensure maximum information and the best conditions in the transition to the free electricity market, which already it concerns approximately 21 million families.”
For these “non-vulnerables” currently in protection, iIn the event of failure to choose a new operator on the free market, the law already provides for a transitional regime for electricity with the assignment to the operator who “won” the customer packages: the assignments will take place by January 10th. This is the so-called Gradual Protection Service (TSG), which has already started working with micro-businesses, including condominiums. The transitional regime lasts a maximum of three years, in which the price is partly established by Arera.
For gas, however, those who leave the protection without making a choice on the free market continue to be with the same operator but in a different tariff regime, similar to the current offers that replicate the greater protection tariff. But it could also be more expensive than the current tariff regime.
Palazzo Chigi explains further that users affected by the transition to the free market will be the recipients of a specification information campaign (the bills should have already notified them in recent months), as well as the main beneficiaries of one constant monitoring of operators’ activities and price trends defined by Arerathe Energy Authority, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security and with the involvement of the most representative consumer associations.
Among the measures, we talk about “simplifications relating to the transfer of bank direct debit for the payment of billswhich is expected to be issued on a necessarily bimonthly basis, without prejudice to the user’s freedom to choose a supplier other than the one assigned following the outcome of the competitive procedures and a different payment method”.
Measures that are judged negatively by consumers. Marco Vignola, head of the UNC energy sector, says: “We’re at the comics! The postponement must be made for everyone. No more mocking consumers with the excuse of the Pnrr.” The request is therefore to “extend the protection until prices have returned to pre-crisis levels and until the new rules for a more transparent bill are launched”.