The end of the enhanced protection service is approaching: by 1 January 2024in fact, those who have not already done so will necessarily have to switch to the free market. Of course, it is not necessary to wait for that date to be able to enter into a contract with one of the many suppliers of electricity and gas. Indeed, it is preferable to do it right now, so as not to be unprepared when the deadline expires. But is it worth it? Despite the fact that the enhanced protection service was created precisely to guarantee lower prices to usersthe increases in recent months have made it less convenient compared to the offers of the free market, where suppliers, in competition with each other, are able to propose contracts with fixed rates for 12 months.
Istat data published in May also show the advantages of the free market. While unregulated energy goods in April increased by 29.8% compared to the same month of 2021, those regulated increased by 64.3%. In short, the free market seems to function in a period of marked price increases like the current one. This is because in the higher protection service the gas and electricity tariffs are updated every three months based on the wholesale price of natural gas and electricity. The consequence is that, when energy prices rise, the bills swell. To use a metaphor, between the free market and the protected one there is the same difference between a fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages. Of course, this is not always the case since customers can choose too indexed rates so that you can benefit from any price cuts. But, in principle, those who choose the free market have the advantage of being able to count on rates blocked for at least 12 months. And the savings, for a typical user (with a consumption of electricity of 2,700 kWh and of gas of 1,400 cubic meters) passing to the free market, are substantial, being able to reach up to 480 euros. On the site “Offer portal” managed by the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment (Arera), it is also possible to compare the different offers for electricity and gas to find the one more advantageous.
Not only. The various promotions on the free market often include additional services, discounts, loyalty programs and offers green energy: all things that are not provided for the greater protection. Among the other advantages there is also the fact that in the free market customers can subscribe to an electricity and gas offer of the same supplier and thus have only one customer service for users, which, on the other hand, is precluded to those who are under the protection regime. But how do you go to the free market? There procedure is pretty simple and is regulated by Arera. It is enough to change supplier contact (online or by phone) the energy company with which you want to subscribe to the offer. It will then be the same company a take care of the paperwork to close the old contract. It should be emphasized that the passage is free, does not involve the interruption of electricity or gas supplies and takes very little time: 30 days starting from the 1st of the month following the one in which the old operator received the termination of the contract. Furthermore, it is not necessary to change counter since electricity and methane remain the same: it is not the distributor but the sales company that changes.
The components of the bill other than energy, such as general system charges, network services and taxes remain unchanged: they are in fact fixed quotas established by Arera and are the same for all suppliers. As mentioned, the transition to the free market it will be mandatory from January 2024. With an amendment by the deputy of the 5 Star Movement, Davide Crippa, in fact, the government has extended the end of the guardianship service by one year. In 2023, therefore, there will be a transitional regime for those who have not yet switched to the free market.
There are also offers Placet. Present in catalogs of all suppliers since 2018, these offers are a cross between the protection service and the free market. Specifically, the contractual conditions are defined by Arera while the price is set by the supplier. They can access it i domestic and industrial customers which are connected in low voltage (electricity) or with annual consumption of less than 200 thousand cubic meters of gas. But what happens to those who don’t choose a new offer by January 2024? In this case, one automatically falls back into the Safeguard market which welcomes customers without an operator. In particular, the electricity and gas supplies will be awarded for 6 months to the same company di first sale, but with contractual conditions coinciding with Placet offers. If at the expiry of the six months has not yet been chosen, a new Placet contract will be proposed with another supplier selected through a national tender.
Article modified at 3:51 pm on May 27
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