Billing, Not Automated Installments: Here are the times and ways of plans for families facing hardship

With the recent maneuvering against expensive bills, the government has also made it possible to activate installment payment plans for families in difficulty. To make the installment mechanism possible, one billion euros has been allocated as a down payment to sellers interested in this path. But how is installment done and when is it triggered? Let’s clear the field immediately of any potential misunderstanding: Payment in installments is not automatic and above all designed for the benefit of families who have difficulty paying bills, in addition to other measures envisaged by the government.

1) Is the installment done automatically?

It was the Energy, Networks and Environment Authority (Arera) that determined, by a special decision, the times and methods for implementing the payment plans in installments. First of all, the right can be exercised only in case of default on bills listed in the period from January 1 to April 30. There are no automated mechanisms, as mentioned, so if a family fails to pay a bill within this time frame, the seller must activate the pathway.

2) How is the payment in installments activated?

Arera’s decision states that the seller must include in the reminder about missed payments or, in any case, in the official notice notice, an offer to the end customer of the possibility of payment in installments “without payment of interest to be borne by the user”. The plan shall have a periodicity equal to that of billing applied in the normal manner to the end customer. As for the number of installments, it should be at least equal to the number of bills issued normally in 10 months.

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3) How much are the plan premiums?

Then there is the question of the amount of these premiums. The authority clarifies first of all that the first installment must be equal to 50% of the total amount of the installment plan and that the remaining 50% will be recovered in successive installments of the same amount. If the installments are less than 50 euros, the number of installments can be reduced according to the frequency of billing “to no more than the minimum number necessary to determine the installments of at least 50 euros”. In any case, the decision makes clear, the number of such installments cannot be less than two, even by detracting from the amount.

4) Can sellers negotiate a different deal?

End sellers can negotiate a different agreement with the end customer to better meet the customer’s needs within the limits of the Budget Act 2022. Deferred Payment.

Thelma Binder

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