Short prescription for electricity and gas bills: the news that not everyone knows

The short time limit for bills is triggered, when the error in the estimate of the customs is attributed to the supplying company.

The payment of bills relating to energy consumption is one of the obligations to which Italian consumers are called to respond. This is one of the most important challenges for Italian families to face, especially in this period of energy crisis in which prices have risen.

There energy crisis that invested Europe and Italy had already been widely foreseen by the Government at the end of 2021. For this reason, in fact, they had been disposed of economic support measures to cope with the difficulties that Italian families would have encountered.

The situation, already critical, has suffered a further exacerbation due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The burden for paying bills is burdened in case of adjustments. We are referring to those amounts that the electricity, gas and water companies report in their bills for recover the amounts on credit.

Short prescription for electricity and gas bills

The companies providing electricity, gas and water services have the right to make the adjustment to recover the amounts of which they are creditor. The action is legitimate, according to the provisions of the law which also establishes i statute of limitations.

In many cases, the values ​​indicated in the electricity, gas and water bills refer to the so-called presumed consumption, which then must be periodically verified. In this way, the supplying companies can verify the correspondence between how much estimated and how much actually consumed by the customer.

In case there is difference between the estimate and the consumption proceeds with the adjustment.

Since any error in the bill does not depend on the consumer, but on the provider company statute of limitations for the adjustment is short (compared to the ordinary one which foresees 10 years).

In this case, in fact, the law has established that the limitation starts after:

  • 2 years in the case of balances received from 1 January 2019 for gas bills, from 1 March 2018 for electricity bills and from 1 January 2020 for bills relating to water consumption.
  • 5 years for balances sent before the aforementioned dates.

The novelty that not everyone knows about

The novelty was introduced with resolution number 97 of 2018, by which the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment applied the provisions of the 2018 Budget Law.

In essence, the ARERA authority has lowered i prescription period from 5 to 2 years for the balances of electricity, gas and water bills, without providing for retroactivity.

Especially the prescription after 2 years applies to consumers and micro enterprises, with fewer than 10 employees or with a budget of less than € 2 million. For all other users, however, the five-year prescription.

Consequently, all bills received from utilities with 2 or 5 years of delay they do not have to be paid.

It should be remembered that the limitation period is interrupted in the event of warning by the lender of the service.

This has to happen by registered mail or by certified e-mail (if the recipient is a company, a professional or a VAT number). Upon receipt of the registered letter, the limitation period begins to run again. It being understood that the consumer has the possibility to object within 40 days from the notification, reporting the abuse to the Antitrust Authority.

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