How much can I save on the account if I switch back to the regulated rate gas?
The Energy Services Regulatory Entity (ERSE) carries out the simulation. A couple with two children and without central heating, with an annual consumption of 292 cubic meters of gas, which was on the regulated market, paid 23.41 euros per month. If you were an EDP Comercial customer, you would already pay 28.10 euros, at Galp Power 56.16 euros and at Iberdrola the bill would reach 69.37 euros. With an expected increase at EDP of around 30 euros more from October, prices on the open market would rise to at least 60 euros. Although an increase is also expected on the regulated market, this is limited to 3.9%, so being on the regulated market can represent a saving of four to 46 euros per month compared to what you would pay on the liberalized market, according to the operator. .
And what should I do to return to the regulated market? And is the change paid?
The government has decided to lift the legal restrictions applied to the regulated gas tariff (which prevents those who have joined the free market from reversing their decision) to prevent families and small traders – who have an annual consumption of up to 10 000 cubic meters of gas – impacted by a 150% increase in their bill. Thus, any consumer will be able to switch from the liberalized market to the regulated market whenever he wishes, at no additional cost. According to the ERSE, there are currently 12 suppliers of natural gas of last resort, ie at a regulated price. In the case of electricity, there are 13. However, in the liberalized market, the number of suppliers can be five times higher. To return to the regulated tariff, the government guaranteeing that the price applied is lower than that observed on the liberalized market, the consumer must seek the service best suited to his conditions (there are simulators at ERSE and Deco which can help) and must enter into a new contract with a provider of last resort. It will be up to the new supplier to manage the transition with the old supplier. The change may take up to three weeks, but there will be no additional charge. And there is also no risk of running out of access to gas at home during the process of switching suppliers.
What distinguishes the regulated tariff from the prices practiced on the liberalized market?
In the regulated market, the energy prices to be charged to consumers are set by the regulator, while in the liberalized market, although there are rules to be followed, each supplier decides the energy price to be charged. to consumers. Since at least 2013, consumers have been encouraged to join the liberalized market, on the grounds that increased competition leads to lower prices. And the one who left could not come back, neither on gas nor on electricity. In 2018, this rule was modified for light, after a proposal from the PCP, but it remained irreversible in gas. With soaring energy prices in international markets, consumer prices are skyrocketing. Therefore, the government now allows the return to the regulated market, where prices are lower. However, this exception will only last for one year.
How to choose a new supplier?
ERSE recommends the use of the regulator simulator for an informed choice. The ERSE simulator brings together all the commercial offers available to consumers of electricity with a subscribed power of up to 41.4 kilovolt-amperes (kVA), for normal low voltage, and natural gas with an annual consumption of up to 10,000 meters cubes, for low pressure (LP). “As the prices of commercial offers on the liberalized market depend, in part, on the tariffs approved annually by the ERSE, as is the case for network access tariffs, consumers are advised to make at least two price simulations per year. . ERSE tariff approval schedule, the end of January is recommended for electricity, and the end of October for natural gas”, also suggests the regulator.
When can consumers switch to the regulated tariff?
From October 1, you will be able to choose freely which of the markets you want to be in, according to the announcement by the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro. Currently, 227,000 consumers remain on the regulated natural gas tariff, according to ERSE data. In other words, approximately 97.7% of Portuguese consumers are currently in the liberalized gas market.
And who has gas, has support?
The government has also extended the Bilhar Solidarity Program, which provides aid of ten euros per family, but here too you have to see if you are entitled to it and apply for membership. The program the government introduced to help the poorest families reduce the impact of rising petrol prices should have reached more than 800,000 consumers, but it remained at 8,000. Too much bureaucracy and the lack of information and dissemination were the reasons Deco found that support did not reach those who needed it. Now the government promises to simplify access.
And does the change pay off for sure?
The price set by ERSE remains well below liberalized market values, but only for gas. In electricity, the free market has the best deals. So those with combined electricity and gas contracts may end up losing in the cost of electricity what they save with switching gas. It is advisable to do the simulations before deciding. with JP