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Italy - Electricity

The standard electricity system used in Italy is 220 Volts, 50 Hertz, which is similar to the UK and other European nations but different from the US and Canada. A variety of plugs can be used in this country including the two-pin plug, which is common all across Europe.

Electronic appliances that have been purchased in Europe and Asia can be directly plugged into electric outlets without any problem. However, people from North America are advised to use adapters and transformers for their electronic devices like hairdryers, mobile chargers and laptops. Expats who are planning to get electronics shipped from their home countries should take the voltage and plug differences into account.

Ente Nazionale per l’energia Elettrica, more commonly known as ENEL, is the national electricity provider in Italy. With more than 2.6 million Italian customers, it is the second largest utility company in Europe. Their offices and services centers are located all across the country. The contact details for ENEL are:

From a landline: 800 900 800 (toll free)
From a mobile: 199 505055
From overseas: +39 023 017 2011

The customer service representatives and operators do not speak English. It is therefore best to have an Italian speaker call them. Expats can also get more information about the company, deals and application procedures through their website - http://www.enel.it.

ENEL cannot meet the demands of all the consumers in the country; there are other private utility providers in Italy too. Consumers are free to choose from any provider in their region. Some of the most prominent electricity companies in Italy are:

Tel: +39 030 35531 (Brescia), +39 02 77201 (Milan), +39 035 351111 (Bergamo)
Fax: +39 030 355 3204 (Brescia), +39 02 7720 3920 (Milan), +39 035 246645 (Bergamo)
Toll free numbers: 800 011 639 (Brescia), 800 199 955 (Milan), 800 012 012 (Bergamo)
URL: http://www.a2a.eu

ACEA Energia
Tel: +39 06 4569 8245
Toll free number: 800 130 334
URL: http://www.aceaenergia.it

Edison SPA
Toll free number: 800 031 141
Toll free fax: 800 031 143
URL: http://www.edisonenergia.it

Tel: +39 02 8967 4181
Toll free number: 800 900 700
URL: http://www.eni.com

E.ON Energia
Tel: +39 02 9164 6102
Toll free number: 800 999 777
URL: http://www.eon-energia.com/it

HERA (Holding Energia Risorse Ambiente) Group
Toll free number: 800 999 500
URL: http://www.eng.gruppohera.it/group/

Toll free number: 800 808 880
URL: http://www.illumia.it

Saras SPA
Tel: +39 02 77371 (Milan), +39 070 90911 (Cagliari)
Fax: +39 02 7602 0640 (Milan), +39 070 900209 (Cagliari)
URL: http://www.saras.it

To get connected, pick any of the utility providers in the region and call their customer service number. The required documents and procedures for setting up an electricity account are more or less the same with all the utility providers. Expats need to submit their identity document (documento identita), tax number (codice fiscal) and address proof to the company.

While submitting an application, all consumers also need to let the provider know about the amount of power they require each month. All basic contracts are set up for 3 kilowatts. However, this can be extended up to 6 kilowatts in case a higher number of electronic appliances are likely to be utilized simultaneously. In such cases, a larger flat rate payment is charged for the additional supply.

Even though there is a struggle to meet electricity demands of the consumers, power cuts are not common in this country. Italy experienced a nation-wide power cut in 2003 because of two fallen trees and before that in 1994.

Italy follows a “two-tier” pricing system for power. The cost of electricity varies depending upon its time of consumption. People pay more for using electricity from Monday to Friday, between 8:00AM and 7:00PM. The pricing is lower on the weekends and during the nights. Many electricity consumers in Italy are replacing their old meters with “Smart” electronic meters to calculate their consumption during different times of the day.

Like most of the other private utility providers, ENEL sends its customers an estimated electricity bill (bolette) every two months. These estimated bills are based on general usage as meters are read only twice a year. Any adjustments required are sent with the next bill.

Consumers are expected to pay their bills every two months, by or before the due date. The details that are found on all electricity bills include the account number (numero utente), amount due (importo) and the payment due date (scadenza).

Several properties in Italy have also been furnished with an electronic remote counter, through which the utility provider can measure a consumer’s usage remotely. This also means that in case of nonpayment, the electricity supply can be cut off remotely. Of course, the disconnection isn’t immediate; customers are given an extension to make the payment. However, the supply of power during this period is reduced. After clearing off an overdue bill, customers need to pay a reconnection fee to enjoy their normal electricity supply. To avoid reconnection charges, it is a good idea to set up a direct debit.

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