Rome: The Basilicata region in southern Italy is to make gas free for all residents thanks to an agreement between regional authorities and energy companies active in the area.
Under a new law approved this week by the regional council, the cost of gas consumed by residents will be eliminated from their bills – reports newspaper Corriere della Sera – leaving only the transport costs and service charges.
The agreement is the result of negotiations between the region’s centre-right governor Vito Bardi, and energy companies Eni, Total and Shell, in relation to so-called “environmental compensation”.
These are funds paid to a region to compensate it for disruption caused by mining activity.
Under the deal, the energy producers are set to make about 200 million cubic metres of gas available free of charge per year, until 2029, reports the Corriere.
The arrangement is valid only for domestic users, not for companies, and only for first homes.
About 110,000 families are set to benefit from the deal, with households expected to see their bills at least halved from this October.
Basilicata is referred to as the “Texas of Italy” – according to the Corriere – which states that the bulk of the nation’s production of crude oil and methane is concentrated in the region (with a billion and 79,000 cubic metres of gas extracted there in 2021, according to data from the ministry of economic development).
The move means that Basilicata will become the only region in Italy, and probably among the very few areas in Europe, whose inhabitants will be sheltered from the energy price hikes which are expected to increase further in the coming months.