7 September, consumers can switch to the regulated market at no extra
cost. However, DECO has received several enquiries from people who are
confused about this new support measure.
The main doubts consumers have are about the switching process, the deadline and the technical requirements. "Consumers are also unaware of the terms and conditions to which they are bound and the consequences that may occur if they switch to the regulated market," DECO points out.
What is the regulated market?
First of all, we need to know what the is. In the regulated market the prices charged by the suppliers are set by ERSE (Energy Services Regulator), which annually, approves natural gas tariffs for a time period named as year gas (from October to September of the following year).
In order to help consumers struggling with rising energy prices, all customers with an annual consumption of 10,000 cubic metres or less may now join the regulated natural gas tariff scheme, as a result of the entry into force of Decree-Law 57-B/2022, of 6 September.
Switching to the regulated natural gas market is free, but it can take about three weeks for the switching procedure. However, during this time, consumers do not have to worry, because they will have gas at home - the supply will never stop.
Normally, electricity and gas supply contracts do not have any penalties associated with cancelling the contract, which means that the consumer can change of supplier whenever they want, without any associated costs.
However, DECO suggests that consumers double check their contract and make sure that there is a mandatory deadline and that a penalty has been established to apply in cases where the consumer cancels the contract before the mandatory deadline expires.
What does the new law say about additional services?
Many consumers, in order to benefit from a greater discount on the price of energy, often end up subscribing to additional services, which may include technical assistance, insurance, equipment, etc.
However, the supply of electricity and natural gas is independent from the additional services and must be contracted separately, although everything is included in the same bill.
The existence of additional services does not prevent the consumer from switching gas supply services to the regulated market. In fact, the law says nothing about these additional services.
However, consumers will have to continue paying the previous supplier for the additional services subscribed by them.
What steps do I need to take to apply for the regulated gas market?
Please, check which is the "comercializador de último recurso" (which in English means last resort natural gas supplier) in your geographical area. On the you just need to write your county to find out yours.
Then get in touch with the last resort natural gas supplier in your geographic area directly to get a new contract. You may need to visit them in person. The last resort supplier will organise the entire changeover with your supplier.
How long can I stay on the regulated market?
You can stay on the regulated market until 31 December 2025 (date on which the regulated market is expected to be over).
Electricity and natural gas - everything in the same contract?
If you have the same contract for electricity and natural gas (dual supply) you can keep the contract only for the supply of electricity, but it is possible that the terms and conditions may change, including the price, as there is usually some discount associated with dual supply.
If this is the case, consumers should check whether the potential increase in the price of electricity (due to a change in terms and conditions) and make sure if it is worth it to change to the regulated gas market.
Alternatively, they may also be able to go to the regulated electricity market. In this sense, DECO said that all “normal low-voltage electricity customers (contracted power of up to 41.4 kVA) can switch to the regulated market”.
To make this change you have to go through the same process, but this time with the electricity supply contract with the respective last resource supplier. Please, see ERSE website where you will find all the information you need to know.
If you still have any questions about how to go through this process, do not hesitate to contact email@example.com on 213 710 200 or email
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252