Italy announces winter heating restrictions
Italy’s Ministry of Ecological Transition this week signed off on a new energy-saving decree introducing tighter limits and restrictions for the use of gas heating over the winter.
According to the ministry’s statement, the daily operating period in the country will be reduced by one hour a day, whereas the overall winter heating season will be shortened by 15 days, “postponing the switch-on date by eight days and bringing the switch-off forward by seven.”
The decree will also tighten the cap on indoor temperature values, with businesses being asked not to exceed 18C (down from 19C) and private citizens having to set their heating at a maximum of 19C (down from 20C).
The new restrictions will not apply to “places of worship, nurseries, kindergartens and swimming pools” nor to “buildings whose heating systems rely on sources of renewable energy,” the ministry said.
It added that “in the event of particularly severe weather conditions, local authorities will retain the power to authorise heating outside the times set in the decree.”
According to a study by national power regulator ENEA, cited by The Local Italy, the new restrictions might allow the country to save as much as 2.7 billion cubic meters of gas over the winter season.
The new energy-saving plan follows a series of nationwide measures aimed at tackling the energy crisis in the country. Italy, along with other EU countries, has been battling record-high inflation, driven largely by energy costs. The country relies on imports for nearly 75% of its energy. At the start of this year, it was importing 40% of its gas from Russia, but in July its Russian purchases dropped to 25% due to sanctions. Last month, Italy lost much of its supplies from Russia when Gazprom halted flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to technical issues.
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