Two-hour rate it means that electricity is paid for according to the time it is consumed: more during peak hours and less during low-demand hours, generally in the evening and at night as well as on weekends.
The introduction of the bi-hourly rate by the Energy Authority is the mirror of a free market in which, thanks also to the contribution of renewables, the cost of wholesale energy production varies from hour to hour and consequently it is right that the price is different according to the time of consumption.
How does the two-rate tariff work? In practice, the operator charges energy based on 2 price ranges F1 and F2-F3 corresponding to different consumption times. The F1 band is the most expensive, the F2 and F3 bands are those in which you save.
Attention. If you see that the F2 and F3 rates are indicated with the initials F23 (which would seem twenty-three) the reason is this: while the times of the F1 band are established and equal for all, the difference between the F2 and F3 bands is decided by the supplier and there may also be no difference (which is why we speak of bi-hourly rate and not three-hour tariff). To understand this, you have to look at the bill.
The time slots established by the Energy Authority are these:
- F1 rate: from Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 19.00 (energy costs more).
- Tariff F2-3: from Monday to Friday from 19.00 to 08.00, on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and in any case all times not included in the F1 band (energy costs less).
Who is the two-rate tariff applied to?
All users equipped with electronic counters programmed to read the time bands can take advantage of the bi-hourly rate set to the F1 / F2-F3 separation that the operators must make available. What can change between one supplier and another are the price of energy and the breakdown between F2 and F3, with the latter indicating the minimum price range (the best one for making a washing machine, so to speak). The indications are written in bills and, if they are unclear, they can be asked to the supplier.
Since its entry into force, the bi-hourly rate it automatically applies to all users who have signed a contract under conditions regulated by the Energy Authority. Those who do not have an electronic meter can request the 'reprogramming' of the meter from the energy distributor by submitting an application through the supplier. The reprogramming must take place within a maximum of two months.
However, as is fair in an (almost) open market, each user remains free to choose the offer he prefers, even if not two-rate (the alternative is the single-rate rate) by evaluating among the various proposals.
There bi-hourly rate it responds to a correct logic, but it is not always convenient (you can find many critical notes on the Internet). This is also why some operators propose it alongside 'corrective mechanisms'. For example, Enel has provided a 'best price guarantee discount' for its bioraraia users, which consists of always calculating consumption with both rates (two-rate and single-rate) and applying the most convenient.
ps From 1 July 2014, the D1 electricity tariff for heat pumps also came into force. Membership is voluntary, on an experimental basis, and aimed at owners of electrically powered (compression) heat pumps who use them for heating and domestic water production in the home of residence. The application forms are published on the website of the Energy Authority.