Since the Second Energy Legislative Package which established specific deadlines for the liberalization of electricity and gas retail markets - July 2004 for industrial customers and July 2007 for private households – the Italian gas and power retail markets have still to accomplish important steps to achieve their full liberalization. Among these steps, there is the elimination of price regulation which is seen by ACER as an obstacle to a well-functioning competitive market. Actually, the large majority of customers is served in Italy by means of a standard offer according to which the electricity price is set by the regulatory authority on the basis of the procurement cost of a single buyer, called Acquirente Unico, which procures electricity on the market for those customers which decided not to sign a contract with a retailer.
However, according to rumours, a bill to be discussed by the Council of Ministers on February 20th is expected to eliminate regulated standard offers and to fully open to competition both gas and power retail markets in 2015 and in 2016 respectively.
This provision is expected to improve competition within the market and benefiting consumers by reducing final prices in the long run. The same priority that Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete is putting at the centre of the European agenda on energy. Nonetheless, much work is still to be done with reference to the Italian retail power market. Brand unbundling, faster and simpler switching procedures, as well as effective solutions to deal with the issue of defaulting customers are among the priorities of the Italian regulator with reference to an effective functioning of the Italian power retail market.
All these topics and beyond will be deeply discussed in a coming conference organized by LEAR “Ten years since the Second Legislative Package: which perspectives for the Italian retail electricity market” which will be held on February 12th in Rome. The Italian regulatory commissioner Alberto Biancardi, together with the CEO of Acquirente Unico, scholars (Professor Eugenio Bruti Liberati and Professor Carlo Cambini), and several Italian utilities (Paolo Carta, ACEA; Michele Governatori, AXPO; Francesca Valente, ENEL; Massimo Bello, Tremagi) will discuss, in two round tables coordinated by Simona Benedettini, about the most important progresses and expected developments for the Italian retail electricity markets.
After several years from the Bersani Decree, which triggered the liberalisation process for the Italian market, and the Second Energy Legislative Package, the retail power market is still at the centre of the political and regulatory debate. Thus, stay tuned for important news about to come!