From consumption to bonuses, the secret is to know your situation and the options available to all consumers
Know your consumption, but also the offers of the market and the facilities available: in a word, be aware of the current situation to limit as much as possible the – inevitable – impact of increases in energy bills. The important thing is not to stand still in the face of increases, but to study the situation and adapt one’s behavior and also suppliers to limit the use of electricity and gas and pay the ‘right’. These are not just differences: ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’ estimated the consumption of a family of 4 living in an average apartment in Milan and the cost of electricity ranged from 1047 to 1973 euros, while for the gas the ‘fork’ is between 2464 to 4496 euros. So here are six tips for all consumers, waiting for better times.
1) Know the consumption
Raise your hand if you have studied the bills that have arrived in recent years … Yet in those sheets there is written everything you need to take stock of your consumption, which is always the mirror of our behavior. There are many items that make up the expense and on many of these it is possible – when comparing offers – to study the right mix that best meets our needs. But above all, especially on a comparison of several years, it is possible to check the consumption trend to understand which of the behaviors (appliances, schedules, use) has the strongest impact on the final result. And by adopting more virtuous behaviors, a ‘surprising’ figure could come out already from the next bill.
2) Inquire online
Many Italians are inundated with phone calls about offers to change operator and energy supplier. But the web is the best ally for consumers who want to save. The important thing is to rely on well-known institutions such as Arera, the energy authority, which has created an Atlas of consumers (www.arera.it/atlante/) in which it provides answers on electricity, gas, water and waste. , with information on bills, suppliers, rights and commercial offers. But even here, in order to evaluate the most appropriate choices, you need to know exactly your situation and for this reason the “Consumer Portal” (www.consumienergia.it) is available, thanks to the work of Arera. Consumers supplied with Spid can find the exact picture of their supplies and individual consumption from 1 to 12 months.
3) Choose between fixed or variable
As for mortgages, it is a choice that makes the difference, not so much in the immediate future as in the near future: the differences – as shown by the 10-fold increase in Pun (the single national price) for electricity in 18 months – they can be ‘important’ and the hope is that the increase curve will reverse. Being tied to a fixed price was a good idea a year ago, today it might be much less. But in the choice of the variable offer one must still be careful since this price is linked to a certain index and the difference on the final cost could be higher than imagined at the time of choice. An aid to the choice comes once again from the web: on www.ilportaleofferte.it – portal created and managed by the Single Buyer – it is possible to compare and choose all the offers of electricity and natural gas in an immediate, clear and free way.
4) Check the conditions
Thanks to web tools and the opening of the market, changing light and gas operators is now much easier than in the past. And it can be free, as Arera points out. But as is often the case with contracts, the devil is in the details. In fact, in the passage – explains Arera – it is also necessary to keep in mind “any costs associated with the signing of the new contract: stamp duty, if due according to tax legislation, and security deposit or other guarantee, if provided for by the contract”. It is also crucial to evaluate the timing for the change of supplier: for contracts activated after the 10th of the month, for example, the supply will start from the first day of the following month. It should also be borne in mind that with the Aid Bis decree up to April 2023 the supplier will no longer be able to unilaterally change the price conditions (prior notice).
5) Buying in groups
In front of suppliers, the consumer often feels alone. But this is not the case: in fact, even individual customers, by creating ‘buying groups’ can go and buy gas or electricity wholesale, thus obtaining lower prices. It is an increasingly widespread formula: the list of purchasing groups is available on the Arera website which imposes some fundamental conditions for the transparency of offers and the protection of consumers. Also in this case, it is important to examine the conditions set, by any minimum stay obligations and by the terms for exercising the withdrawal.
6) Study the bonuses
The rise in energy prices affects everyone, but weighs more (sometimes dramatically) on the social groups with greater economic hardship. But for them social bonuses are available for electricity and gas, offered to families below the Isee threshold of 12 thousand euros for the year 2022. The important thing, however, is that one of the members of the family is the holder of the bill for the supply of gas and electricity with a tariff for domestic use. The bonus is also available in the event of service temporarily suspended due to non-payment.