The end of protected gas and electricity market

December, the arrival of Christmas and New Year's calendars. Among those who rush to look at the day on which their birthday falls and those who focus on potential bridges, there are also those who will mark two very specific dates in red: January 10 and July 01, 2024. These are the days that mark the end of the protected market for natural gas and electricity respectively.

With all the information that today's world is accustoming us to, one reads much more frequently conflicting opinions on the subject, information that is sometimes redundant and sometimes not quite correct.

This is not a zero point, as the protected market will actually continue to exist (for gas named otherwise) only for those domestic customers who will be or have already been identified as vulnerable. In this mechanism, the Integrated Information System will act as a referee by independently identifying end customers who are over 75 years old and/or who are social bonus holders. The burden of identifying additional requirements (disability L. 104/92, supply in emergency housing facilities following calamitous events, and in addition for electricity, physical hardship bonus or having supply in a minor island), will fall on the sales company by retrieving the information directly from the end customer. In this regard, in the event that the end customer is in supply in the protected market and self-certifies the possession of at least one of the above-mentioned requirements, he will automatically find himself supplied in the vulnerability market. Conversely, if supplied in the free market, he can, through self-certification, apply to his seller, to enter the vulnerability market. For all those who have a contract in the protected market, in the absence of the aforementioned requirements, they will have to choose an offer on the free market with their own or another sales company. Where no offer on the free market is chosen, in gas, from January 2024, the end customer will be supplied on PLACET conditions as an exception, as stipulated in Resolution 100/2023, while, on the electricity side, he or she would end up in supply with the operator gradual protections.

For most households, the protected market is about to end having in any case well in mind the obvious criticality given the large number of utilities still present. The move to the free market puts sales companies, perhaps for the first time, truly in a position to act freely, causing them, according to the most basic of economic laws, to make the market by adjusting prices so that they are competitive with each other without the cumbersome presence of an "out-of-market" competitor, inevitably opening up new types of offerings.

"CPL Concordia, as part of its consulting services for Utilities companies, can support sales companies in untangling the various obligations and fulfillments of this transition between the protected and the free market, assisting them in the various communications to be made during these months of transition both to end customers and to the Integrated Information System (IIS)," emphasizes Marco De Biasi, Utilities Manager. In fact, as repeatedly emphasized by ARERA itself, it will be very important to provide the end customer with communication that is as complete and comprehensive as possible so as to support them in the transition. The identification and monitoring of vulnerable versus non-, lists made available by the IIS or self-certifications are also crucial in order to be able to handle any requests for access to offers provided exclusively for vulnerability versus non-eligible. "Sensitive topic in view of the recent updates, for the electricity sector, provided for by Decree-Law 181/2023 that change its logic. Staying up-to-date and aligned is essential to comply with all the obligations that institutions require in a delicate period such as the one we are facing," De Biasi concludes.