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Expected bill savings, gas consumption drops

Arera tariffs on Thursday. Codacons,families -600 euros annually

26 February, 19:21
(ANSA) - ROME, 26 FEB - Savings are coming for Italians' bills. This week Arera will release the new gas rates in the protected market and forecasts are for a cut of about 17 percent. But with current gas rates, decreases are also expected for electricity. Resulting in overall savings for households estimated at around 600 euros annually. A sigh of relief then for Italians who, like Europeans too, in the past 6 months, squeezed between high prices and the emergency of the war in Ukraine, have tightened their belts by reducing gas consumption.

Roof or no roof, in fact, natural gas consumption in the EU - according to Eurostat data - decreased by 19.3 percent in the period August 2022-January 2023, compared to the average gas consumption in the same months (August-January) between 2017 and 2022. Italy stands at around 19 percent just below the European average. Full storages and a mild winter have done the rest: gas prices, which now stand at around 50 euros per megawatt hour, have hit their lowest since 2021. And energy prices also continue to fall in Italy, as is also expected in the next gas update from Arera, which will arrive on Thursday, March 2.

Forecasts made in recent days by Nomisma Energia President Davide Tabarelli are for a drop in early March of 17 percent for gas and 25 percent for electricity on April 1 (when Arera will also release the quarterly update for electricity). Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto on Monday also confirmed, "If the trend is what we are experiencing, I think we will again have a very significant reduction in gas and also in energy in Arera's next decision." The total savings between electricity and gas should be "596 euros per year per household," Codacons calculates: "The gas bill would be around 1,154 euros per year, equivalent to a saving, compared to the tariffs in force today, of 237 euros per year per household; for electricity, the average bill would drop to 1,075 euros per year per household, with a lower expenditure of 359 euros." The drop in gas consumption over the past six months has enabled many EU countries to meet the 15 percent reduction target set by the EU Council regulation as part of coordinated demand reduction measures. Specifically, between August 2022 and January 2023, according to Eurostat, Ireland (-0.3 percent) experienced the smallest drop in consumption, while Spain (-13.7 percent) and Slovenia (-14.2 percent) recorded significant declines but did not meet the 15 percent target. In some countries, however, the reduction far exceeded the target: consumption fell the most in Finland (-57.3%), Lithuania (-47.9%) and Sweden (-40.2%).

Looking at the monthly data from January 2022 to January 2023, consumption was consistently below the 2017-2022 average for the respective months in those years. But the biggest declines were seen from the summer of 2022: from -14 percent in August, the drop in consumption gradually widened to -25 percent in November; then in December, the drop in consumption was less pronounced (-12.6 percent), but it widened again in January 2023 (-22.1 percent). (ANSA).

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