Very soon the shift from protected market to free energy market will take place in Italy: the deadline is set at January 1st 2021 for small enterprises, while private citizens and micro enterprises can wait until January 1st 2022.
But, what do these terms mean exactly?
In a protected energy market or in a system with fixed prices, energy rates are entirely set by the national Energy Authority. With the liberalisation of the energy market, on the other hand, only transport and distribution prices will be fixed, while the energy provider will decide on the rate of the energy component.
Pay attention to scams
Telemarketing operators have been recently launching a rather aggressive promotional campaign, either by telephone or with commercial visits at consumers’ homes. The see in the free energy market an opportunity to attract new customers. But the means that they use are not always legitimate. In fact, these operators tend to push users to make a decision in a very short time, and without having previously assessed all the available options.
Energy consumers fear that there could be sanctions or, even worse, an interruption in their energy and gas supply if they do not conclude a new energy contact in due time; therefore, they usually accept a commercial proposal by telephone, whose rates and conditions are not necessarily favourable to them.
The lack of a real awareness from energy consumers on those topics is probably the main reason why the shift to free energy market was postponed. Many people are still not aware of this news and still do not have a precise idea on the characteristics that the most suitable energy provider should have. A massive informative campaign is thus needed, together with a specific training targeted to energy consumers. ACT4ECO platform represents a good starting point, as it provides a set of ad hoc training paths aimed at acquiring basic skills on energy consumption and energy efficiency best practices at home.
What can I do, as an energy consumer?
In a free energy market, the final user can choose the most suitable energy supplier and type of contract, by assessing the proposal that is most in line with his/her needs and consumption rate. For this reason, the national Energy Authority created a free tool to compare the proposals from different energy providers.
Although the deadline to shift to free energy market is set on January 1st 2022, the Authority does not urge energy consumers by calling them, nor does it apply any kind of countermeasure. If the user does not sign a new contract on the free energy market by the set deadline, clients will be included in a specific safeguarded service and the shift to a new energy provider will take place automatically.
At the same time, all private houses started to be equipped with smart meters, providing detailed information on the consumption levels and enabling an easier self-reading – a best practice that all energy consumers should adopt, in order to avoid high energy prices on their bills.
For all those who are not familiar with energy bills and the self-reading of meters, on ACT4ECO you will find a dedicated Action theme (“Manage your energy consumption”) and many other tips to acquire more autonomy on domestic energy consumption, which is an element of a great importance for our everyday consumption levels.