Differences between the free electricity market and the enhanced protection service

When it comes to electricity and gas supplies, many consumers are faced with a crucial choice: opt for the free market or remain in the enhanced protection service. The free market and the enhanced protection service have distinct requirements and advantages, but it is essential to understand the differences to make an informed decision. Learn more about what distinguishes the free market from the greater protection service, to identify the option best suited to your needs.

What does enhanced protection service mean

The greater energy protection service is a supply regime in which the tariffs are regulated and established by the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment (ARERA) at national level. In this system, you do not have the possibility to freely choose your energy supplier and you are served in the greater protection service under the contractual and economic conditions set by ARERA.

The protected market is designed to guarantee you protection and ensure stable and transparent tariffs. The tariffs are reviewed periodically by ARERA to take into account fluctuations in the cost of raw materials and market conditions.

We remind you that for non-vulnerable domestic customers the end of the gas protection and greater electricity protection service occurred on:

  • 31 December 2023, for gas (ARERA resolution 100/2023);
  • 30 June 2024 for electricity (ARERA resolution 600/2023).

As regards micro-enterprises, the enhanced protection service for electricity ended in April 2023, while for small enterprises it had already ended in 2021.

If you have not yet signed up for a free market offer, starting from July 2024, the supply has automatically passed, without any interruption, to the Gradual Protection Service (STG); in this Service the contractual and economic conditions are defined by ARERA also on the basis of the outcomes of insolvency proceedings.

For further information consult the dedicated article.

If you are a vulnerable customer, however, you will continue to be served, even after 1 July 2024, in the Greater Protection Service, under contractual and economic conditions defined and updated by ARERA.

Vulnerable Customers

Vulnerable domestic electricity and gas customers are considered to be those who fall into one of the following conditions:

  • are over the age of 75;
  • benefit from a social bonus for economic hardship (for further details consult our section dedicated to the social bonus) pursuant to article 1, paragraph 75, of law 124/17;
  • are in serious health conditions that require the use of medical-therapeutic equipment powered by electricity (or where there are people in such conditions);
  • are subjects with disabilities pursuant to article 3 of law 104/92;
  • are holders of a supply located in an emergency housing facility;
  • have a user on a smaller, non-interconnected island (only for domestic customers with an electricity supply).

Differences between free and protected markets

Rates and offers

In the free market, suppliers can offer competitive commercial offers, with fixed prices, discounts, personalized packages and additional services to meet different needs.

Services and flexibility

In the free market, suppliers can offer a series of additional services, such as dedicated customer support, mobile apps to monitor consumption, electronic invoicing and options flexible payment options.

For example, Enel Energia offers a series of additional services such as:

  • offers for power and gas at fixed or variable prices;
  • ultra-fast internet with Enel FibraFTTH fiber symbol at a discounted price if you are already a customer or want to become one. Enel Fibra was elected Product of the Year 2024 for innovation (Circanana research on 12,000 consumers, on selection of services dottodellanno.it cat. FIBER TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES.);
  • energy efficiency products and services with formidable prices on air conditioners, boilers, photovoltaics and electric mobility. Exclusive services such as «10-year All risk insurance» on the solar range and innovative products such as balcony photovoltaics;
  • Bolletta Web service to receive the bill at the email address you prefer. It's smart, sustainable and free;
  • flexible and digital payment methods such as direct debit from current account, credit card, PagoPA notice;
  • Enel Energia App to independently manage your supplies, activate new offers, monitor your consumption and much more;
  • e-monitor, the free monitoring tool for check the consumption of each household appliance and optimize the use of electricity.

Our consultants are at your disposal to give you the information and assistance you need. You can choose how to receive support between different contact channels, digital and physical. For the second year, Enel Energia has been named "Service Champions" in the Electricity and Gas sector by the German Quality Institute based on the level of customer satisfaction.

In the enhanced protection service, the main focus is the stability of the tariffs defined by ARERA without however being able to take advantage of additional services.

Possibility to choose the supplier

In the free market, you can change providers at any time without additional costs or service interruptions. This flexibility allows you to always look for the best solution on the market and adapt to your needs.

In the enhanced protection/protection service
, the territorially competent operator is identified by ARERA and without the possibility of choice for the consumer.