After six consecutive quarterly price increases, energy bills have gone down in Italy. As of April 1st, consumers began paying 10.2% less for electricity and 10% less for gas.
After six consecutive quarterly price increases, energy bills have gone down in Italy. As of April 1st, consumers began paying 10.2% less for electricity and 10% less for gas. The changes were confirmed as Italian energy regulator Arera published its updated tariffs for the new quarter last week, on Thursday.
The fall in prices comes as a surprise to many after widespread predictions that another rise was on the way, with the price of natural gas soaring in March due to the impact of the war in Ukraine. Until two weeks ago, prices had been forecast to rise by up to 20%. Arera attributed the lowered tariffs to “data on price trends” as well as government interventions, including the cancellation of general charges and a VAT reduction on gas.
Commenting on the surprise price drop, Arera President Stefano Besseghini said: “In an objectively extraordinary situation, with an ongoing conflict and unprecedented volatility on the energy markets, and in light of the greater responsibility for verification and control attributed to it, the Authority has decided to adopt extraordinary measures in favour of consumers.”
In response to rising energy bills due to the knock-on effect of the war in Ukraine, the Italian government has boosted an existing energy bonus to bring down costs. It forms part of a wider package of measures worth €4.4 billion to curb the war’s economic impact on Italy, including a temporary reduction in fuel prices for motorists.
Energy bills have soared over the past year, fuelled by the surging cost of gas imports. This has only been made worse since Russia invaded Ukraine, as Italy is more dependent on Russian imports of natural gas for energy than most of its European neighbours and produces very little of it within the country. While falling rates are a positive sign for households and businesses facing record high energy bills, the price drop in April doesn’t compensate for January’s huge increases of 55% for electricity and 40% for gas, or the series of steep increases before that.
As the cost of both electricity and gas continues to hit households and businesses hard, despite previous intervention from the Italian government, Italian authorities have passed a new law aimed at lowering utility bills for those on lower incomes. Following its approval last week on Friday, the new law called ‘Social bonus for electricity and gas’ has been updated, extending it to more households. It is valid until December 31st, 2022.
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