Since January 2003, the Italian gas market has been deregulated and multiple players are now flocking the natural gas market of Italy. If you are coming from various countries overseas, it might be surprising that most of the heating systems in Italy are propelled by natural gas, as well as kitchen stoves. Despite an upcoming trend of switching to electric heating systems and electric kitchen stoves, the majority of Italian households are still connected to the natural gas network.
Natural gas supply setup in Italy
In order to sign a natural gas supply contract, your house must be connected to the natural gas network and you need to have a modern electric display meter that counts the cubic meters of supply electronically.
Every natural gas meter is identified by a 14 digit number called PDR (Punto Di Riconsegna) that roughly translates as point of delivery. This number has to be used for any communication with your current supplier or if you intend to switch it, and it is unique to your supply.
If you are unsure what your PDR is, you can either check your latest natural gas bill, or the meter, by clicking twice on the top button, the display will show your PDR.
Natural gas contract signature
Now that you have your meter setup, you are ready to sign a contract with a utility provider (or switch your current contract). Unfortunately, the whole process is dealt in Italian and you are likely to deal with a telephone responder; note that more providers are switching to online services and you
In any case, you are required to provide the company the following information:
- Personal details (full name, date and place of birth)
- Codice Fiscale
- Current meter reading (lettura del contatore)
- Bank details, if payment is to be by direct debit from a bank
- Billing address
- Property cadastral information
- Title of property occupation (ownership, lease, gratuitous use etc.)
Meter-reading, bill paying and disconnection
Your natural gas supplier sends out the bill (bolletta) every two months. Nowadays the amount billed matches the amount consumed as shown by your meter from time to time, however if you have an old meter, your supplier might require you to perform a lettura (count the meter) to match the amount shown in the meter to the one in their system.
Every bill must include all your personal details, including the billing address, as well as the details of the supply including the PDR, and the calculation of the amounts due. In addition, the invoice must also include the ultimate date by which the invoice has to be settled.
Delays in payment give the right to your supplier to charge late payment fee in the following natural gas bill; they are normally disclosed in the section “Ritardi pagamenti”. Keeping up with your payments is easier nowadays since most of the providers have mobile apps and online web apps that deliver your e-bill seamlessly avoiding unnecessary mail delays.
In case of delayed payment (or no payment at all), your natural gas provider is entitled to discontinue the supply, nonetheless it must follow a strict procedure before discontinuing your supply. First of all, the supplier must send you an “avviso di mora” via raccomandata or Certified Email (PEC), in which the supplier requests the payment of the overdue bill as well as providing the ultimate date by which the payment has to occur.
Your provider can then discontinue your supply after 3 days have passed the ultimate payment deadline. After such a date your supplier can discontinue the supply and shut down your meter. This is extremely inconvenient because paying the outstanding bills is not sufficient to have natural gas delivered again, you must also reconnect the meter to the system (paying thus additional fees):
You can also appeal to court in case of litigation with your natural gas supplier, and Associazioni del Consumatore (consumer’s protection group) can provide advice and legal support in the matter.
It is therefore crucial to keep up with the natural gas bill payments to avoid unpleasant surprises.
List of natural gas suppliers in Italy
Italy has various natural gas providers offering their services nationwide or regionally; among the most popular we can find:
- Gas Natural;