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ENERGY

TELL US: How much have your energy bills risen in Italy?

As households face soaring energy prices in Italy, as elsewhere in Europe, how are you affected and what are you doing to save money?

TELL US: How much have your energy bills risen in Italy?
How will you save gas and electricity this winter? Photo by REEET JANK on Unsplash

Italy’s energy prices are estimated to have risen tenfold over the past year, after a long series of eye-watering price hikes worsened following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Many households now say they’ll struggle to pay the higher bills that have arrived at the start of September, while businesses are raising their own prices in response amid fears of closures and job losses.

READ ALSO: Italy tells residents to turn down the heat to combat energy crisis

Some people are of course being hit harder than others as the exact price increase will depend on the way you heat your home as well as your energy provider, tariff, and other variables.

We’d like to hear from readers in Italy about how you’re coping with energy price increases. Have you switched off the air conditioning? Are you concerned about further increases in winter? Have you changed your energy provider or fixed your tariff?

And, as the government is releasing guidance telling people to turn down the heating this winter, take cooler showers, and switch on the dishwasher only when full, will you be taking these measures yourself – or were you doing this already?

Please fill out the short survey below to let us know your thoughts. The best answers will be used in an upcoming article on The Local.

Thank you.

Member comments

  1. We live in a rural area of Umbria. Many of the residents here use multiple sources of heating but there has been no pellets for the furnaces that are the predominant source of heating the home in this region.. we read nothiyof what’s happening and why. We know that the supply has doubled from about 5 euro to 10 euro per bag but none is currently available. Many older residents say they will try to get by with their wood stoves or camino’s but this will not be easy if it is a hard winter. This issue has gotten 0 notice in the press and will be as terrible to the elderly as Covid was.
    Where are the pellets? Floating on some boat in the Mediterranean?

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ENERGY

Lights out: How Christmas in Italy will be different this year

As the European energy crisis continues, some cities in Italy have chosen to save on electricity by downsizing regular Christmas displays, thus making this year’s festivities a little less flashy.

Lights out: How Christmas in Italy will be different this year

With less than a month to go until the Christmas holidays, many might be rejoicing at the prospect of finally seeing their cities lit up by dazzling Christmas displays.

But, as the European energy crisis shows no sign of abating and many cities across the boot keep struggling to square their accounts in the face of soaring bills, some residents may be disappointed to know that this year’s festive decorations might differ from the norm.

Milan, Italy’s economic capital, was one of the very first Italian cities to announce it would significantly reduce Christmas displays to save on energy.

READ ALSO: Lights off and home working: Milan’s new energy-saving plan for winter 

After reports emerged in early October that the city would end up spending a whopping €130 million on energy bills alone in 2022, Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, was quick to warn residents that Christmas decorations would be “restrained” and operate “for shorter periods of time”.

And, it wasn’t long before Sala made good on his promises. 

Earlier this month, the city’s authorities agreed on putting up decorations and light displays on December 7th (that is over two weeks after the usual date) and taking them down on January 6th instead of late January. 

Christmas lights in the streets of central Milan

Christmas lights in Milan will be switched on on December 7th, that is over two weeks after the usual switch-on date. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Also, while in previous years Milan’s city centre was illuminated overnight, this year’s Christmas lights will be switched on at 4pm and switched off at midnight. 

But, while Milan residents might be slightly dissatisfied with the new arrangements, they sure have little to complain about when compared to Rome residents. 

It’ll be a dark Christmas (literally and, perhaps, even figuratively) for most areas of the Eternal City and not merely because of the current energy crisis. 

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: The Italians reviving ‘nonna’s’ traditions to keep costs down

The city’s tender for this year’s Christmas lights contract received no bids before its deadline on October 27th, which means that, in many neighbourhoods, festive decorations will be largely left to the goodwill and financial means of the residents.

So while the popular Piazza di Spagna, Porta Pia and Via Alessandria will light up over the holiday season thanks to private funding, the San Giovanni and Tuscolano neighbourhoods and Via Cola di Rienzo are currently expected to remain au naturel.

Christmas light in a street in Rome

Many areas of the capital, Rome, will be without lights this year due to lack of funding. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Things will generally be better in Venice and Florence, where local authorities have recently chosen to maintain their usual arrangements, the only exception being the replacement of regular lights with energy-efficient, LED ones. 

So, while the lighting might be a little softer and displays might not be as remarkable as in previous years, both cities should be able to deal with late-December energy bills more comfortably than they would have had to do otherwise.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Italy has avoided a huge hike in gas prices – for now 

Having said that, not all Italian cities have decided to resize their Christmas offerings on the back of eye-watering electricity prices. 

Naples, which has long been known for the extravagance of its Christmas and New Year celebrations, has seemingly chosen to turn a blind eye to the energy crisis and will allocate as much as €1.5 million (that’s €150,000 to each one of the ten local municipalities) to this year’s displays.

Unsurprisingly, the comune’s decision has been drawing widespread criticism, with many local political figures pointing out that part, if not most, of the above-mentioned amount should have been spent elsewhere, perhaps in the form of a one-off ‘Christmas bonus’ for struggling households and businesses.

The available money should have been used to “turn off the crisis and light up people’s hearts”, city councillors Antonio Culiers and Francesco Flores said in a joint statement earlier this month.

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