Connecting to utilities in Italy

If you are planning to buy a property in Italy you will need to consider how to set up the supply of utilities such as water, gas and electric to the property and arrange the payments for them.

Dealing with Italian utilities companies can be a daunting task, especially if you are not fluent in Italian.

It is therefore becoming increasingly common for lawyers dealing with the purchase of property in Italy to offer services to arrange for the transfer of the utilities, especially if they regularly deal with UK clients buying in Italy.

If you wish to save yourself the hassle of setting up the utilities for your Italian property including water, gas and electricity it may be worthwhile asking your Italian lawyer if they can assist you with this.

We have however provided some helpful basic information below.

Before making any application for utilities in Italy you’ll need a valid tax number. The tax number is known as a Codice Fiscale and you can find further information about this in our article How To Get a Codice Fiscale Tax Number in Italy.

Water

Connecting to Water Supply in Italy

Each Italian region has a different policy with regard to the supply of water. Water rates depend on regional water reserves in each separate area. Water supply is usually limited to a yearly, fixed amount, which is measured by meter.

If you require additional water supplies, for example for a swimming pool, you will usually be billed separately for an extra metered supply. Typically there is one water company for each area in Italy. To register for a water supply you will need to provide your tax code and identification details, together with the address of your property. It may be easiest to arrange for the utility account to be transferred into your name from the previous owner.  You can usually pay bills by direct debit or at a local Post Office.

Waste

Waste Disposal in Italy

Rubbish collection services are usually paid for via a tax which is charged by each separate region. The amount of tax will depend on the town/city your property is located in and the size of the property.

Electricity

Connecting to Electricity Supply in Italy

Once you have bought your property in Italy you will need to sign a contract with an electricity company for the supply of electricity.

There are various electricity providers in Italy and you are free to choose which provider you would prefer. ENEL is the Italian national power company. In order to set up a contract for the supply of electricity in Italy you need to contact the provider and will require proof of identity, your tax number, bank details and details of your property. It may be simpler to ask the current owner not to cancel their contract and instead to transfer them into your name.

The standard voltage supply in Italy is 3KW.  For most Italian homes, 3KW is sufficient, however if you feel that 3KW is not sufficient you may request an upgrade of the power from your electricity supplier. The cost of the upgrade can vary, depending on the provider.

You should ensure that all previous bills have been paid by the previous owner and that the contract is put into your name from the day you take over.

Gas

Connecting to Gas Supply in Italy

Gas is widely used in Italy for heating the property, heating water, and cooking.

Gas supply will usually be either mains gas, which is generally available in towns, or an outdoor gas tank.

If your Italian property has mains gas, you should contact the gas company to have the gas switched on, the meter read and to set up a supply contract. Italgas is the major supplier of mains gas in Italy. Payments for gas bills for can usually be made at the post office, bank or via a direct debit.

An outdoor gas tank or bombola is usual for properties in more rural areas.

With regard to the tanked gas, generally, you will have the option of paying for the entire cost of the fuel when your tank is filled or receiving a bill every couple of months.  Some suppliers of tanked gas can only be paid at the post office.

Broadband, telephone and TV

Connecting to Broadband, Telephone and TV in Italy

Many of us dream of living or getting a second home in Italy only to be put off by missing our family and friends or even our favourite TV shows. In this digital age, a good broadband connection can bring your family and friends to your Italian dream home.

Mobile technology, combined with online media applications such as Skype and Facetime has made face-to-face catch ups a daily event.

Internet

Having a reliable fast broadband connection can be essential to making your place in the sun a home from home. If this will be an important factor in helping you stay connected to loved ones, make sure that the property that you’re purchasing has good internet options and speeds.

Internet in some areas of Italy can be slow so it would be worthwhile checking with a service provider or the current owner that you will be able to connect to the internet and the likely speeds before you purchase.

There are several companies offering a variety of packages and rates, which may include broadband, TV and telephone.

Phones

There are multiple providers of phone and internet service in Italy. Telecom Italia is the national supplier of telephone landlines in Italy.

You can arrange your telephone connection by contacting their customer service centre. You will need to provide your tax number and proof of identity.

Telecom Italia also provide Internet services.

Television

In Italy, any television owner is required to pay the Television tax. The tax is paid yearly and the amount can vary from year to year.

There are multiple companies that can provide cable and satellite television in Italy. Availability of services will depend on which area of Italy you live in.

It may be helpful to ask the previous owners of your property in Italy to let you know how their utilities were set up and which providers they use, which will at least start you off while you find out the most cost-effective options for you.

Most people now choose to pay bills by direct debit from their Italian bank account where possible. Just make sure that you keep the account topped up so that there is enough to settle any bills to ensure that services are not disconnected. If you are not planning on being in Italy full-time, it may be worthwhile giving the service provider your permanent address so they may contact you in case of any problems.

During the purchase your Italian lawyer should check that all the utility bills are up to date and paid in full before completion. You should also check that you take meter readings as soon as you move in so that you can check this against your bills.

For more information about buying a property in Italy, download our free guide.