As with what happened in the gas sector, the protected market for electricity bills will end in the coming months. After numerous postponements, the date set for the cessation of the protected electricity market has been set at July 1, 2024. Within this period, non-vulnerable customersor those who do not belong to disadvantaged categories or do not have specific protection needs, they will have to sign an offer with a supplier on the open market.

End of protection: how electricity and gas services are evolving

In the protected market, electricity and gas prices, defined by the Energy, Networks and Environment Regulatory Authority (ARERA), offered to consumers some certainty about the costs of electricity and gas bills.

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But in the new context, prices are no longer regulated by the State, but determined by competition between different suppliers. THE users freely choose the managerwith personalized pricing plans to their needs, habits and the type of energy used, including renewable sources. This breakthrough aims to realize free market principles while increasing the efficiency of the energy system.

What will happen to fragile and vulnerable customers at the end of the protected market?

Departure from July 1, 2024, non-vulnerable national customers still present on the protected market will be gradually transferred to the “Gradual Protection Service”a transitional regime with prices updated quarterly by ARERA and more flexible conditions.

Instead, the domestic users considered “vulnerable” they will continue to be served in “Greatest Protection” even after this date. This category includes people living in disadvantaged economic conditions, benefiting from the social bonus, suffering from a disability, living in emergency housing or over 75 years old.

I am included in the “vulnerable” category also those who receive bonuses for electromedical equipment, such as rescue machines or oxygen concentrators. It is with the aim of ease the economic burden for families who need to use these necessary medical devices.

They stay in “Greater protection” small island users, i.e. the small islands, which are part of the Italian national territory. These islands, often not connected to the main electricity network of the continent, are forced to produce electricity independently, usually using fossil fuel generators. For facilitate the inhabitants of these territorieswhich are located at face higher energy costs than on landthe State provides specific rates.

THE customers who fall into the “Greater Protection” category and who meet the conditions to be considered “vulnerable”, but what they have not yet been identified as suchthey should communicate their status to your energy supplierby completing and sending a specific form.

Opportunities and risks of the transitionand towards the free market

According to ARERA data, users who have chosen a free market offer in 2023 they saved on average 12% compared to consumers remaining in the more protected market.[¹]

But, if on the one hand the liberalization Is translated by cheaper rates and personalized offers, on other gifts Also a series of challenges and critical issues not to be underestimated. The main one is the complexity of the choice, taking into account the wide range of offers available among providers, tariff plans and contractual conditions. Compare all options carefully identify the most advantageous proposition it could be very difficult.

Another unknown is the possibility that some operators adopt unfair commercial practices, such as misleading promotional campaigns or contracts with ambiguous conditions, with the aim of activating new users. In a highly competitive context, businesses may adopt aggressive and deceptive marketing strategiesby omitting relevant information or hiding additional cost items.

Tips for Managing Electricity and Gas Bills in the Open Market

With good preparation and an informed approach, it is possible make advantageous choices in line with their needs and promote the ecological transition towards more sustainable energies.

Some practical advice:

  • Currency thoroughly your habits of consumption. Compare the available offers, analyzing prices, services and contractual conditions.
  • Read the contracts before registering and pay attention to hidden costs or duration constraints.
  • Check the reputation of the supplier choose solid and reliable companies.
  • Pay attention has Promotional offers and carefully evaluate your overall long-term utility costs.
  • Do not rush in the choice of supplier, despite delays.
  • Consider the option of renewable energiesto contribute to environmental sustainability.


[¹] ARERA Annual Report 2023

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