COVID-19 & the role of energy regulators: 5 questions to Clara Poletti
When on 23 February 11 municipalities in Northern Italy were declared “red zones” for the Coronavirus crisis, no one imagined that two weeks later this would have evolved into a full lockdown of the country. On 11 March, the Italian government adopted unprecedented measures to handle the COVID-19 crisis. The same day, the WHO labelled it a “pandemic”.
In this difficult context, ARERA, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment reacted quickly, issuing a series of extraordinary measures with the aim to protect both consumers and operators.
CERRE’s Energy Director, Máximo Miccinilli, discusses with Clara Poletti (Commissioner at ARERA and Chair of the Board of Regulators for ACER) the actions implemented by the Italian Regulatory Authority since the start of the COVID-19 emergency.
Since the outbreak of the crisis, ARERA has adopted numerous measures such as the blocking the disconnections of electricity and gas supply due to delays in payments for both households and small businesses, the postponement of all inspection and sanction procedures, and the creation of a special fund to provide financial resources for the regulatory interventions made in favour of final customers.
In her interview, Clara Poletti underlines the importance for regulators to have “flexibility of action”. She calls for cooperation between regulatory bodies and highlights the importance of sharing regulatory best practices.
Poletti concludes by highlighting how this crisis is an opportunity for the European Union and its Member States to showcase one of Europe’s most important values: solidarity.