Italy’s household utility bills will rise in the next quarter – regulator

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Power lines connecting high voltage pylons can be seen in Montalto Di Castro, Italy, 11 August 2017. REUTERS / Max Rossi

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MILAN, December 30 (Reuters) – Electricity prices for Italian households will rise 55% in the first quarter of next year and gas prices will rise by 41.8% due to higher raw material prices, energy watchdog ARERA said on Thursday.

The increases take into account $ 3.8 billion ($ 4.3 billion) in public money allocated by the government to curb the surge in retail utility bills in the first three months of next year.

Without these measures, electricity and gas prices for families in the regulated market would have increased by 65% ​​and 59.2%, respectively, according to ARERA.

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Rising energy prices, triggered by strong demand for gas as economies appear to be recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, have led governments across Europe to put in place measures such as subsidies and tax breaks to protect consumers from big bills.

In some countries, they have also led to calls for EU-wide solutions in some countries, while other governments are skeptical of long-term regulatory reform, as they believe that short-term price spikes could occur.

ARERA chairman Stefano Besseghini admitted that many Italians have faced serious and unexpected difficulties.

“ARERA is considering changes to the rule part that normally applies to normal phases and adapts it … to an unprecedented situation.”

Rome, which wants to support low-income households while the health pandemic takes its toll, has spent around € 8 billion since July to contain hikes in energy bills.

In addition to one-off measures, including a 5% reduction in VAT on gas in the first quarter, it is examining a longer-term structural reform of the energy market.

ARERA said money from the government made it possible to temporarily suspend “system fees” in bills.

Grid charges, which include renewable energy subsidies and nuclear decommissioning, on average, account for more than 20% of the final bills of Italians.

ARERA reviews the electricity and gas prices for households that are still on the “protected” or regulated market of Italy on a quarterly basis. Some of the measures may also affect most of the consumers and businesses that are now in the liberalized market.

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Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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