• Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

Aiget, delayed free market does not favor consumers and risks EU infringement


May 11, 2021

“The delay in the process of completely exceeding the regulated prices with respect to the roadmap outlined by the Competition Law prevents the development of a solid and truly competitive market, in the primary interest of the final consumer”. This was stated in a note by Massimo Bello, the president of Aiget (Italian Association of Energy Wholesalers and Traders) in a hearing at the Production Activities Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. “From the political debate there are still worrying requests for postponement of this process – continued Bello – and Italy risks an infringement procedure for non-compliance with the EU Directive 2019/944, which does not allow extensions beyond 31 December 2020 on the system of regulated prices for small businesses. The possibility remains of providing for a transitional phase of short and temporary maintenance of the enhanced protection service, beyond the foreseen term, in favor of micro-businesses and domestic customers, but only as it is open to all energy companies. The Competition Law echoes the Directive and reiterates that the path for overcoming regulated prices must be designed in such a way as to promote effective competition, and accompanied by effective institutional communication “. Bello recalled that “already the 2018 Monitoring Report of Arera, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment, had denounced the delay in the liberalization process of the sector and the strong concentration, especially in the context of the micro-enterprise and domestic Bt segment, with a market share of the first operator on the total energy served on the free and protected market equal to approximately 69.8%. This framework does not favor, in the context of a process aimed at overcoming regulated prices, market dynamics in able to lead to a more advantageous price level for the final consumer “. In this sense, he adds,” it is desirable that the concentration levels are more balanced than the current ones, in order to arrive with the papers in order on January 1, 2023, launch date of the free market for the micro and domestic segment. Eliminate the competitive advantages of the dominant company and adequate corrective mechanisms on the dynamics of prices are among the measures suggested by Aiget “. The Antitrust Authority has intervened on the matter several times, finally observes Bello. “In addition to reiterating his appreciation for the general contents of the Mise Decree, he added the need to better specify the information campaigns, as well as the opportunity for the instrument of gradual safeguards to be temporary and ensure an effective transition to the market, while guaranteeing competition and the plurality of offers. The Authority wanted above all to avoid that the service reinforces attitudes of inertia and resistance to the active search for the best offer by the customer. It therefore asked to activate at the end of the three-year period a specific information on the best offers on the market. With reference to the auctions, the Antitrust had already stressed the need to avoid excessive homogeneity of the lots on a territorial basis and had asked that the cap be placed at a maximum of 35% of the lots put up for tender. Exactly like us repeatedly wished “. “Further elements, which cannot be postponed, to guarantee the efficient conclusion of the liberalization processes are the Sales List / Register for the electricity market, as well as a possible update of the Ministerial Decree already in force for the natural gas sector”, he concludes.