As winter approaches many Italians are feeling worried about the recent governmental decrees which will introduce new heating regulations that restrict the amount of gas that businesses and households are allowed to use.
The Italian government has deemed these measures essential to reduce the overall amounts of gas being used throughout the country this year in order to ease the potential energy crisis that Italy, and many other European nations, are currently facing.
Why Are There Energy Shortages In Italy?
There are several main reasons why Italy is facing energy shortages which have combined to create a perfect storm. The major factor that has severely limited the supply of natural gas in Italy, and the EU in general, is the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Following Russia’s mobilization of troops and incursions into Ukraine, the United States and the European Union issued a series of wide-reaching sanctions against the Russian government, businesses and even certain individuals in the country’s elite ruling class. This action for the most part has backfired on Europe and the United States.
Natural gas flows from Russia to the European Union, which made up a significant proportion of the continent’s total supply of gas for heating, were massively reduced. Unfortunately, there was no Plan B to fall back on and consequently, Europeans are being forced to deal with the possibility of serious energy shortages during the winter months.
While the war in Ukraine couldn’t have been stopped by the Italian government, some of the administration’s other policies have helped to make the current energy shortages even worse.
Italy has been slowly transitioning to using more green methods to produce the nation’s energy. While this is a highly laudable objective the complexities of transitioning to green energy have been plagued with problems of mismanagement and budget shortfalls. As a result, Italy has not met its goals for going green and so, when the nation’s supply of natural gas was suddenly restricted, energy shortages became inevitable.
How Much Will Gas Consumption Be Reduced By?
The new energy-saving plans are predicted by the Italian government to save almost 5 billion cubic meters of gas during the winter of 2022/23.
The burden of restrictions on the use of gas for heating will be spread evenly across the households and businesses of Italy. Of course, certain essential industries, such as healthcare, will not have restrictions on the amount of gas they can use placed on them.
When Do The Heating Restrictions In Italy Start?
The nationwide heating restrictions in Italy come into force on the 22nd of October 2022 and remain in place until the 7th of April, 2023.
What Are The Climatic Zones For Heating Restrictions In Italy?
The Italian government has subdivided the nation into 6 climatic zones. The implementation of the heating restrictions are different for the 6 climatic zones, designed to reflect the usual winter temperatures in the different regions.
The zones are divided up strictly by region so it can be a little confusing! You can see the municipalities in the 6 different climate zones in the table below.
|A||Linosa, Porto Empedocle, Lampedusa.||5 Hours Per Day From 8th December Until 7th March.|
|B||Messina, Palermo, Crotone, Reggio Calabria, Agrigento, Catania, Siracusa, Trapani.||7 Hours Per Day From 8th December Until 23rd March.|
|C||Bari, Cagliari, Benevento, Caserta, Cosenza, Imperia, Latina, Naples, Lecce, Oristano, Ragusa, Salerno, Taranto, Sassari, Catanzaro, Brindisi.||9 Hours Per Day From 22nd November Until 23rd March.|
|D||Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Caltanissetta, Chieti, Avellino, Foggia, Florence, Forlì, Genova, Isernia, La Spezia, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa, Macerata, Carrara, Nuoro, Matera, Pesaro, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Rome, Savona, Siena, Teramo, Pescara, Terni, Verona, Vibo Valentia, Viterbo.||11 Hours Per Day From 8th November Until 7th April.|
|E||Alessandria, Arezzo, Asti, Aosta, Biella, Bologna, Bolzano, Bergamo, Brescia, Campobasso, Como, Cremona, Enna, Ferrara, Cesena, Frosinone, Gorizia, Lecco, L’Aquila, Lodi, Milan, Mantova, Modena, Novara, Parma, Padova, Pavia, Perugia, Pordenone, Potenza, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Ravenna, Rimini, Rieti, Rovigo, Sondrio, Torino, Trieste, Trento, Treviso, Udine, Varese, Verbania, Venezia, Vicenza, Vercelli.|| |
13 Hours Daily From 22nd October Until 7th April.
|F||Belluno, Cuneo.|| |
No Restrictions Are In Place.
Are There Any Exemptions For The Heating Restrictions In Italy?
Yes, there are several categories that are exempt from heating restrictions during the winter. Nurseries, kindergartens and all places of worship are exempt from the rules, as are public swimming pools. Healthcare facilities, clinics and hospitals will also be able to continue using as much gas as they need to deliver essential services.
Another major category that is exempted from the regulations is any buildings that are already using renewable energy sources for their heating and power.
In the case of severe weather events or unusually cold weather conditions, local authorities will be able to authorize the heating of homes and businesses outside of the prescribed times.
Temperature Caps – What Does It Mean For Your Household?
As well as limiting the amount of time that you can use your heating each day, the Italian government is also asking people to cap the temperature of their heating. Heating should be capped at 18 Degrees Celsius (64 Degrees Fahrenheit) in businesses and at 19 Degrees Celsius (66 Degrees Fahrenheit) for households.
How Are The New Heating Restrictions Going To Be Enforced?
It’s not altogether clear how the heating restrictions will be enforced in Italy this winter. The government has announced that it will be conducting random inspections of public apartment blocks, businesses and municipal buildings although there is no indication of what penalties people who are failing to comply may face.
In practice, it seems that these heating restrictions mainly rely on voluntary compliance. For instance, there are currently no plans to introduce fines or civil prosecutions, unlike in other parts of Europe such as Switzerland, so in a sense, these restrictions can be viewed as guidance for businesses and households.
For many Italian residents, who live in condos or apartment blocks with a centrally controlled heating system, these restrictions will be automatically put into practice. The same applies to office blocks with centrally managed heating systems and all public buildings.
Great Tips To Help You Keep Warm This Winter.
Even though you may be facing restrictions in the amount of heating that you can use there is no need to freeze! The limit for household use, 19 Degrees Celsius, is still fairly warm and if you wear an extra jumper or a scarf, you won’t get too cold this winter.
Set The Timer On Your Heating System.
One of the best ways to maximize the efficiency of the heating that you do use is to carefully plan when you’re going to use it. Not only will it prevent you from accidentally leaving the heating on when you’re out during the day but it lets you plan when you’re going to use your allotted hours of heating each day.
For example, you can set your heating to come on automatically 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and then switch off 30 minutes after you’ve started the day. This will warm up your home first thing in the morning and then, by the time you’re setting off for work, your heating will have switched off again. Similarly, in the evenings, you can program your heating to come on 30 minutes before you get back from work and then stay on until an hour before you go to bed.
Draught-Proof Your House.
Draught-proofing your home is one of the easiest ways to make the most of the heating you are using. Reducing cold draughts between the rooms and properly sealing your windows can make a huge difference to how warm you’ll be at home, even during the coldest winter months.
Draught-proofing your property is a much cheaper option than paying for new insulation which can often cost thousands of Euros to install. You can draught-proof your home using towels under the doorways, putting up heavy curtains over your windows and by closing doors when you’re in a room.
Stay Active And Drink Plenty Of Hot Drinks.
Although you might want to relax in the evening if you’re starting to feel a bit chilly you can quickly warm up by staying active. For instance, you can sweep your floors, tidy up your wardrobes and home or start an exercise routine in the evening.
This might not be suitable, or appealing, for a lot of people but it’s not only a productive way to spend your downtime but it will also help to keep you toasty and warm this winter.
The New Heating Regulations Are Here To Stay.
Even though it might feel like governmental overreach to many Italians, the new heating regulations are nothing to worry about provided you plan ahead and use your allotted time carefully. You should always make use of the timers on your heating system and avoid leaving your heating on overnight or during the day when you’re out.
Essentially, with a little common sense, you should have nothing to worry about after the heating restrictions come into force.