The Covid-19 outbreak that spread worldwide in the first months of 2020 has obliged many governments to undertake confinement measures. These interventions had a massive impact on the world economy, provoking, in many countries, an unprecedented destruction of employment. The pandemic also had a tremendous impact on the energy sector, with a plunge in total energy demand, driven by a decline in commercial and industrial activities. On the other hand, confinement measures increased domestic demand for energy due to a larger occupancy.
The combination of financial hardship for many households and increased residential energy needs has exacerbated pre-existing energy poverty (EU EPO, 2020; Engager, 2020), prompting many governments around the world to introduce emergency measures to protect energy consumers. These interventions, although very diverse in nature, are all based on the same underlying assumption: if the government requires people to stay home, then it must ensure that the basic energy needs of the household are satisfied (WEF, 2020).
In this context, the Italian experience is of special interest. Italy was the first Western country to be affected by the pandemic and it suffered one of the most restrictive lockdown among democratic countries. The Italian Government was the first one to introduce protection measures for energy consumers. Among the interventions of the regulator (ARERA, 2020), we can find:
• Bill postponement for the eleven municipalities that were initially isolated.
• Postponement of the deadlines for the renewal of social tariffs.
• Disconnection ban for residential users in the entire national territory during the lockdown.
• Specific measures for small and medium enterprises (bill reductions).
• Creation of a 1.5 billion € “COVID account” in order to guarantee the financial stability of energy retailing companies.
The objective of this study is to qualitatively assess the efficiency of these measures, comparing them with other international experiences.
5th AIEE Energy Symposium «Current and Future Challenges to Energy Security», Milán, Milán (Italia). 15 diciembre 2020
Fecha de publicación: diciembre 2020.
P. Mastropietro, P. Rodilla, C. Batlle, Emergency measures to protect energy consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic: a focus on the Italian interventions, 5th AIEE Energy Symposium «Current and Future Challenges to Energy Security», Milán, Italia, 15-17 Diciembre 2020. , pp. 1-2