If you are a natural gas customer of EDP or GALP, your bill will skyrocket from October. The other free market companies are still waiting to see what happens, but you should be aware as they may also announce interim increases for current customers at any time. The government itself has advised customers with increases to switch to the regulated market. But not everyone knows what that means. In this week’s Savings Accounts report, we did the calculation to see if it pays off. There is a link to the video at the end of the article.
What is the regulated market?
First of all, it is necessary to explain what this is with the regulated market and the liberalized market.
Imagine two markets. In one, the REGULATED MARKET, sellers are required to sell all products at the same price. Prices are set by the state all year round (or just a little every 3 months if necessary).
In the other, the LIBERALIZED MARKET, each seller makes the prices they want, above or below the values of the market next door. And you choose where to buy. Normally, those who are looking for promotions go to the sellers of this market and so far they got good prices.
Below are the prices these companies charge for new customers in September.
GAS | The list of the 10 cheapest companies (September 2022)
In the case of gas, there were 12 sellers in the regulated market (one in each region of the country) and several companies in the liberalized market. And whoever left for the liberalized market could not, according to the law, return to the regulated market.
As prices started to become very high due to the war in Ukraine, the government decided to reopen the possibility for everyone to buy natural gas on the regulated market.
The problem is that many people don’t know which company to contact.
How do you know what your gas company is on the regulated market?
It’s easy. Go to the ERSE website (at erse.pt) and click on “CUR – Retailers of Last Resort” (with the question mark – click on the small arrow). Write the name of your municipality and the name and contact details of the company that supplies natural gas in your municipality appear next to it. You should contact this company and not anyone else.
Below is the link where I explained this in detail.
REGULATED GAS | How do I know which company to switch to?
But note, first confirm that it is really worth changing. You can use the ERSE simulator to find out if you can get it cheaper than from your company.
If all this confuses you, you can listen to this episode of the Podcast.
PODCAST | #127 – Electricity and gas – What is the difference between a liberalized and a regulated market?
In the specific case of EDP and GALP, it is practically guaranteed that it is worth switching to the regulated market or to another cheaper company on the free market.
To give you an idea, the price of kWh gas will be around 6 cents on the regulated market from October 1, with the expected increase. With EDP it will go up to about 20 cents and with GALP to about 17 cents.
In the case of EDP, a gas bill of 20 euros can go from 20 to 60 euros, or from 50 to 150.
To avoid this, many Portuguese are already queuing up to change the contract in person in the shops of companies on the regulated market. In Porto, for example, at the EDP Gás Serviço Universal store.
Many of the 12 companies can also sign the new contract by phone, email or already have some sort of preliminary form (in the case of EDP Gás Serviço Universal). You may have to wait until mid-October to make the move solely over the Internet, as many of the 12 companies are still preparing the IT platforms.
To find out how much you’re paying now, go to your bill and look for the kWh line. If the value is much higher than 6 cents or you already know it’s going to rise, it might be a good time to switch to the company that gave you the ERSE location simulator.
Attention to one detail. There are companies with the same name. For example, EDP Commercial is the EDP with the most expensive gas and EDP Gás Serviço Universal is the one with the cheapest gas (in the regulated market). They are different companies.
The same goes for GALP. It has an expensive GALP and the GALPs on the regulated market are the ones that say Gás Natural CUR but they have the same symbol. Be careful when changing.
Do I have to do a new inspection?
There is one more important piece of information. The government banned the request for a new gas inspection to switch suppliers. This can be a problem for many consumers, not only because it can cost close to $100, but it would probably have to stand in line for many weeks.
If you switch to the liberalized market, you may have to have this inspection carried out once the inspection you have has expired. This exception ONLY applies to those who switch to the regulated market, okay?
Below you will find an article on this subject and the dates on which you should perform this inspection.
If I switch from GAS to the regulated market, do I have to pay a new inspection?
And what about propane gas?
Another frequently asked question is about propane gas. ERSE confirmed to SIC that the transition to the regulated market does not apply to these situations. You’re going to have to keep paying the price that companies set or switch to natural gas (if they have that pipeline available at all) or bottled gas or switch all your equipment to electric and be off gas forever.
And who uses “normal” bottled gas?
That’s another problem. Most households in Portugal still use bottled gas. At least until the end of October, the price of cylinders is fixed and cannot increase. Below you will find the link with the applicable maximum prices. Refuse to pay more than this. It’s illegal.
Gas bottles | The maximum prices started today for two months
Attention to additional services
One final warning. Analyzing several bills for this report, we found that many customers pay for services that they don’t remember taking out as insurance in the event of a breakdown at home. There is nothing wrong if you really want this insurance.
In this particular case, the customer paid €3.98 + VAT every month and didn’t even know he had it. He had already canceled it. View your invoice and confirm that you are paying for additional services that you do not need. It can be almost 100 euros per year that you pay without realizing it.
If you have not seen or want to view the report that appeared on SIC, in Jornal da Noite, here is the link to the interview with ERSE.