By TheLocal Italy,
Household electricity bills will rise by 29.8% for the typical family and gas bills will go up by 14.4%, Italy’s energy regulatory authority Arera confirmed in a press release last week. The new national tariffs came into effect on Friday, the start of the fourth quarter of 2021. The increase comes amid surging energy costs across Europe, and beyond.
The price rise passed on to Italian consumers could’ve reached 45 percent, Arera said, if the government had not stepped in to cap the new rise in rates.
The Italian government last week announced measures costing three billion euros aimed at limiting a steeper rise in energy prices for consumers.
As well as keeping the cost to most families below 30 percent and 15 percent, the government measures will keep additional costs at zero for those least well-off, including households with an income under 8,265 euros, families with at least 4 dependent children with an income of less than 20,000 euros, those who receive a state pension or unemployment benefit, and people who are seriously ill, Sky TG24 reports.
The measures also cut the ‘general charge’ from gas bills for all throughout the last quarter of 2021, and on electricity for families and some small businesses.
Last quarter, the retail cost of electricity rose by 9.9% and gas by 15.3% from July 1st. The government also stepped in that time to cap costs, with 1.2 billion euros in state aid.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said last week that many of the reasons for the energy price increases were temporary but called for long-term action, including at a European level, to address the problem, including through diversifying supplies.
Italy is highly dependent on imports and consumes a large amount of gas. Some 40% of its primary energy consumption is gas, compared with about 15 percent in France, according to official statistics for both countries.
Europe is facing soaring power prices as its economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, while natural gas reserves are at a worrying low level as winter approaches.
Italian consumers are now paying some of the highest electricity prices in Europe, with the average cost already at 145.03 euros per mw/h (megawatt hour) according to newspaper Corriere della Sera.
This means the cost is higher than in Portugal and in Spain, where electricity costs have soared to 141.71 euros per mw/h, reaching an all-time high on September 9th after significant price rises across much of Europe over the past 12 months.