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COST OF LIVING

Electricity bills in Italy to rise by 59 percent, says energy regulator

Italy’s energy regulator Arera warned that households will see prices climb by 59 percent by the end of this year.

A picture taken on August 28, 2022 shows an incandescent light bulb with a residential building seen in reflection on a window after sunset in Lausanne.
The average Italian family's electricity bill is set to rise by 59 percent. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Electricity prices are set to climb once again as the average Italian household’s bill is expected to rise by 59 percent in the coming months, said Italian power regulator Arera (Authority for the Regulation of Energy Networks and Environment) this week.

Arera said the gravity of the current energy crisis forced them to adopt “extraordinary measures” in order to stave off a 100-percent increase in the price of electricity bills.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: Italy’s outgoing PM pledges more help with soaring prices

Despite these efforts, they added, electricity bills are set to rise by 59 percent on average in autumn.

Massimo Ricci, Arera’s energy department director described the rise as “unprecedented”. 

The regulator also said that, by the end of 2022, the average Italian family will likely have spent a total of €1,322 on electricity bills alone. For the sake of context, the average family’s expenditure on electricity bills sat at €632 euros last year.

As for gas bills, Arera said that, due to the “introduction of a new calculation method”, new estimates on gas prices would only be published at the start of November. 

Gas bills in Italy have risen by 93 percent over the past two years, according to consumer group Assoutenti. Photo by Ida Marie ODGAARD / Ritzau SCANPIX / AFP

Gas bills in Italy have risen by 93 percent over the past two years and the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine together with the damage recently suffered by Nord Stream pipelines “threaten to make bills skyrocket,” said consumer group Assoutenti. 

In an attempt to mitigate the ‘sting’ of soaring bills and protect people’s purchasing power, the Italian government has already passed a number of aid measures, with a further aid package, the decreto aiuti ter (third aid decree), currently being on ministers’ table. 

According to the latest available indications, the new package should include additional help for businesses – mostly in the form of tax credit – and a one-time €150 bonus (financial incentive) for workers and pensioners with annual earnings lower than 20,000 euros.

READ ALSO: Portofino mayor offers residents €400 to offset energy bills

Outgoing PM Mario Draghi is also currently working to bring about an EU-wide cap on gas prices. 

Through an official note released on Wednesday, Draghi said that the present energy crisis called for a joint response from the EU, one that would allow countries to “reduce costs for families and businesses and avoid exceptional profits from production companies”.

Soon-to-be new Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, echoed Draghi’s words stating that “no EU member state could come up with effective long-term solutions on their own” and that “a common strategy” was needed. 

As talks over a European price cap continue in Brussels, the outgoing Italian government is also following up on its plans to get the country ready for the upcoming winter season.

On Wednesday, outgoing Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said Italy had filled up 90 percent of its gas stocks and had now greater flexibility with respect to potential “spikes in winter consumption”.

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UK AND ITALY

Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

In the UK, there are various benefits available to help eligible people through the cold winter months – one of which is the winter fuel payment. But can Britons living in Italy really claim this benefit to cover the cost of heating their Italian homes?

Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

Average winter temperatures vary across Italy, but those who move here after only experiencing scorching summers are often surprised to discover just how cold the country can get.

Even the hardiest of arrivals from colder climes will no doubt have to switch on the radiators or fire up the woodburner between November and February – despite the surging costs.

READ ALSO: Not just gas: How the cost of heating has soared in Italy

As the cost of living crisis bites, some UK nationals who reside in Italy may wonder if they could still be eligible for winter fuel financial support from the UK.

What is the UK’s winter fuel payment?

The UK’s winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment to help older people with heating costs during the cold winter months.

Those eligible must have been born before September 26th 1956, according to the UK government’s website.

How much people receive depends on their age and whether anyone else in the household is also eligible, but the amount is usually between £250 and £600.

I’m a UK national living in Italy. Can I claim the winter fuel payment?

Yes, if you meet the following criteria according to the British government’s website:

“If you do not live in the UK, you’re only eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • you moved to an eligible country before 1 January 2021
  • you were born before 26 September 1956
  • you have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – this can include having lived or worked in the UK, and having family in the UK”

Unlike Spain and France, which the British government has deemed to be too warm on average, Italy is on the list of eligible countries along with Austria, Germany, Sweden, and others.

Find out how to claim the fuel payment on the UK government’s website here.

According to the UK government, during winter the average temperature is between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius in the UK.

READ ALSO: At what time of day is electricity cheapest in Italy?

The Italian government divides the country into six ‘climate zones’ which determine when and for how long residents should have their heating switched on each winter.

According to the government’s classification, the coldest parts of the country are the northern provinces of Cuneo, Trento, and Belluno, where no heating restrictions apply.

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