by Serena Minervini

From March 2018, electricity operators can no longer send balance invoices for periods exceeding two years, thanks to Resolution 97/2018 / R / com of the sector Authority, Arera (Regulatory Authority for Energy Networks and Environment).

Consequently, for all electricity bills expiring after March 1, explains the Authority, “in cases of significant delays in billing by sellers or billing of adjustments due to the lack of availability of actual data for a period particularly important, the customer may object to the so-called short limit (from 5 to 2 years) and pay only the last 24 months billed “.

Moreover, there is the obligation of the seller to inform the user of the possibility of contestation together with the issuing of the invoice having such characteristics, in any case, however, with at least 10 days in advance of the expiry of the payment terms. .

In the same resolution, the reduction from 5 to two years of the period within which the consumption not only of electricity, but also those of gas and water, are prescribed.

First of all we need to know that the rule also precedes the two-year prescription:

a) for the electricity sector, effective from 1 March 2018;

b) for the gas sector, effective from 1 January 2019;

c) for the water sector, effective from 1 January 2020.

The rule, therefore, will not have retroactive value.

In the event that the seller is delayed in invoicing the adjustments, despite having available the adjustment measurement data, “for consumption referred to periods longer than two years, the customer is entitled to suspend payment, subject to a complaint to the seller and if the Antitrust (Agcm) has opened a proceeding against the latter, and will also be entitled to receive reimbursement of payments made if the procedure Agcm ends with the finding of an infringement. ”

In the event that proceedings are initiated before the Competition and Market Authority (AGCM) and complaints are sent by the customer to the operator, the payments are suspended and, in the event of an undue adjustment, they are suspended. returned the amounts within 3 months.
The law also provides that these provisions do not apply if the failure or incorrect detection of consumption is due to the responsibility of the customer.

It establishes, therefore, the right to suspend payments in the event of a dispute, but, at the same time, the consumer is responsible for checking the correctness of the invoiced readings, through the instrument of self-reading (especially for gas and water supplies) and allowing local distributors to detect readings on the inaccessible meters.