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Italy considers new fuel poverty monitor as energy prices soar By Reuters

© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This closed petrol station can be seen near Chuquiaguillo in Bolivia’s outskirts, Bolivia on November 17, 2019. REUTERS/David Mercado

Stephen Jewkes & Giuseppe Fonte

MILAN (Reuters), Italy plans to monitor fuel poverty in its larger reforms of the energy market, and to temper rising prices for consumers. This was revealed by a decree from the government.

The plan was presented to parliament as a non-binding opinion. A national observatory on fuel poverty will be established at the Energy Transition ministry in 90 days from the date of the decree.

Although the government still has to approve the decree, it is intended to incorporate into national law EU legislation that places the consumer at center of the energy market.

Tensions have been heightened between European Union member countries about the transition to renewable energy. Some believe new green policies may lead to higher consumer prices.

Rome put aside 3 billion euros ($3.5 Billion) for September in order to stem the sharp rise of retail energy bills that was triggered by rising gas prices.

It’s currently developing a number of long-term strategies to lower so-called system costs in bills.

Around 20% of Italian consumers bills are made up by system charges such as renewable energy incentives and nuclear decommissioning fees.

The decree states that suppliers must offer vulnerable clients power for a price comparable to wholesale market prices when the liberalisation of Italy’s energy markets in 2023 is completed.

ARERA, the energy regulator, said that it will publish monthly references figures for wholesale prices in order to inform end-users – at most until 2025.

ARERA is currently setting power prices for non-liberalised consumers – approximately a third.

These measures are being taken as governments in Europe face increasing pressure to reduce energy costs to support families and small business as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Brussels announced last week it was exploring options for price cushioning, including joint gas purchase between countries.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.