When moving into newly built (or renovated) property it will be necessary to set up connections to utility providers.
Unlike UK, most utility services in Italy are monopolies, leaving you little or no chance to ‘shop around’ for alternatives. Also, before applying for any utility, whether in a rented or owned property, a foreigner in Italy will need a valid tax number, (Codice Fiscale) which can be obtained from the provincial tax office (Ufficio delle Entrate).
Continue reading for some more useful tips!
The national electricity company in Italy is ENEL, and whilst the electricity supply is 220 Volts /, 50 Hertz, most UK appliance should work without problem, however, wall sockets are either 10 amp or 16 amp, utilizing a standard European-style two-pin plug, or an Italy peculiar in-line 3-pin plug.
Your electricity contract in Italy is based on kilowatts (normally 3 kilowatts). If you expect to run a number of energy hungry appliances simultaneously, you may find the supply cutting out, and you may need a larger supply (up to 6 kilowatts). Of course ENEL will charge more for a higher rated supply. Since 2010 ENEL has offered a two-tier pricing policy, with cheaper electricity available from 7pm to 8am.
ENEL will send you an estimated electricity bill (bollette) every two months, with meters being read twice a year and adjusted bills sent out. Bills can be paid either by direct debit, on-line, or at the bank or post-office counter
Mains gas (gas di città) is generally available in larger towns, to transfer the account, you should contact Italgas/SIG to have the meter read and the gas turned on.
In the countryside if you want gas, then you will have to install a tank (bombolone), a typical size is usually 1,000 litres, and is enough for hot water and heating for the average household. Generally, the tank is installed by the gas company free of charge and remains their property. They charge by the litre for supplying the gas, usually payable by bank debit when they fill up the tank.
Bottled gas (bomboli) either butane or propane is also available in small bottles, either for cooking or space heaters. It can be found at most local supermarkets or petrol stations after paying a small deposit for the first bottle.
Every local authority (commune) has its own water company. Mains water supply is limited to a fixed, metered amount per household, any additional consumption which exceeds the limit must be paid for. If you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool, this requires a specific contract (uso vario) and is metered separately. Water is usually billed twice a year, and can be paid at the Comune specified bank, or again at the post office.
Given that you have invested a lot of time or money in your Italian place, then insurance is a must for both contents and building fabric. Your local town, however small, will have at least one insurance agent/broker, who will offer a number of policies with well recognized international insurance companies. You can negotiate to pay the premium in stage payments, eg quarterly.
Unlike in the UK, if you ignore renewal notices your policy will not simply lapse, unless you have informed the agent in advance. Insurers will pursue you for premiums, so if you are thinking of switching insurance, make sure you know when and how to cancel your existing policy.