The new calculation of electricity and gas bills which will start from 1 October until January 2023 (we talked about it here) will result the monthly and no longer quarterly update of the gas price for all customers with domestic users under the protection conditions.
After announcing the measure and deciding to no longer use forward prices on the wholesale market as a reference, the Arera however, he spoke of a “Dramatic autumn” with regard to energy supplies, updating the premier’s more cautious forecasts Mario Draghi of a “complex autumn”.
The alarm for the Arera: the increases in the bill
In a document sent to the Government and Parliament, the Energy Authority he spoke of unprecedented increases, with the risk of default for suppliers and costs borne by customers. The sting will concern gas consumption (and consequently electricity) for the quarter October-Decembermoreover in the hot period of the inauguration of the new Executive.
The text literally fears “Changes in costs that have never occurred before”therefore certainly superior to 42% increases recorded in the first three months of 2022. A situation that will lead to increases “of over 100% compared to the current quarter” and that the extension of discounts on general system charges will not be able to effectively stem. The level of concern also rises for the stability of the entire supply chain, as well as for consumers and businesses (bills, electricity and gas bonuses strengthened in the next quarter: here’s how to get them).
The increase in gas: the scenarios
Arera recalls that “the current context of war has determined a situation of strong tension, at national and community level, on the energy markets, in particular in the natural gaswith prices in wholesale markets that have surpassed the 200 euros / MWh“. We are talking about more than double the prices, already very high, recorded in the previous months and equal to about 10 times the average prices of the last 5 years.
And if autumn looks dramatic, imagine winter. The Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolanihe says he is convinced that Italy will get away with no rationingbut on the other hand, the Authority underlines that the “strong uncertainty about the actual availability of an adequate supply of natural gas for the next winter” implies “difficulty in finding the volumes necessary to satisfy demand on wholesale marketsincluding that for domestic use and, for many end customers, to conclude supply contracts for the next thermal year “.
The scenarios are not comforting: they range from “a potential growth in cases of activation of the service default transport “to” a subsequent one massive transfer of end customers in services of last resort ”, due to the termination of the balancing or distribution contracts of the operators and the increase in arrears.
The alarm is real: around 7.3 million Italians and many of these fall into the weak and lower income brackets. For them, the doubling of tariffs, already on the verge of sustainability today, could represent the coup de grace. Arera has therefore provided some practical advice for consumers, to be integrated with the aid provided by the State.
- The first is the most obvious, but perhaps the most important (and discussed): save money power within the home.
- Marco Vignola, energy manager for the National Consumers Union, also underlines that “who does not have a tele-managed electronic meter should carry out self-readings on the days communicated by the manager. This way we will always have real, not estimated, readings. In addition to the fact that monitoring your consumption is the first step to consume less “.
- Another tip is to check the offers of the free market on the Arera offer portal.
The government plan
How can we avoid the worst? In April, the government introduced a anti-speculation rule which allows the Regulatory Authority for energy, networks and the environment to refer not only to the market cost, but also to the real cost of procuring the raw material. The aim is to stop financial speculation, repeatedly denounced by Cingolani and considered one of the causes of the increase in the price of gas.
One of the main innovations concerns new ones transparency obligations for sellers that, in case of need for price recalculations compared to the amount invoiced previously, they must not only inform the taxpayer in the bill, but also create a “section on their website to explain, in a clear and understandable waythe reason for the recalculation and the method of determining the prices “.
At the end of July, the Executive also illustrated the “operational part” of its plan to avoid the gas emergency. We talked about the one degree reduction in temperature (from 19 degrees instead of 20) of public and private residential heating for next winter (and for years to come) with the simultaneous reduction of one hour a day. So our country will be able to save 2.5 billion cubic meters of gasin an imperishable attempt to break free of Russian supplies, amounting to approximately 30 billion cubic meters, as soon as possible.
For Cingolani we are in an iron barrelthanks to the diversification of gas supply sources with the stipulation of contracts with suppliers such as Algeria (but should we really buy gas from this country?). In fact, sufficient quantities of natural gas would arrive from the latter to replace the cut in Russian supplies and to remove the specter of a systemic emergency. But the doubts of the regulatory body are not lacking, especially as regards the stability of the industrial sector.
The plan of Europe
However, Arera is skeptical, and not only with regard to the intentions of the national summits. The European Union has also devised its own community plan, which provides for the voluntary reduction of consumption by 15% (with various exceptions). However, even this measure proves insufficient to stem the energy crisis. According to the Authority led by Stefano Besseghinifurther interventions “at national and, above all, European level” are “of dramatic urgency”.
The Authority’s “recipe” provides for the launch of a European price ceilingwhich Mario Draghi has been asking for for months but on which he only got not too convinced and convincing assurances from the European Council. With discussion postponed to autumn, when it will obviously be too late.
The Arera strongly emphasizes the urgent need to “implement measures aimed at restore a balance between supply and demand through, on the one hand, the reduction of demand on a voluntary basis to be pursued also with specific and non-postponable communication campaignsas already implemented with good results in other European countries and, on the other, through the identification of mechanisms for managing demand containment interventions in the event of an emergency “.