Paying electricity bills

03/12/2013 - 11:52

Our electricity was recently cut off by ENEL for non-payment of bills. We hadn't paid because we hadn't received any bills! The backlog of bills was eventually traced to the local post office, but our property manager had to spend hours sorting this out with ENEL and queuing at the post office to pay. We could have our bills paid by direct debit from our post office account (poste italiane) but we have been told that to do this you have to be a resident. As the house is not our prima casa, we do not want to declare ourselves resident, especially as we only visit it 3 times a year. How do other non-residents cope with paying electricity bills?,



You say ".......... We could have our bills paid by direct debit from our post office account (poste italiane) but we have been told that to do this you have to be a resident. ..." - you need to check this with the Post Office, as this would be the best way to manage the problem When I bought my holiday home I opened a bank account, solely for paying the Gas and electric bills by Direct Debit.  I know its an expensive way, because of the phenomenal standing charges that the bank levies, but it does give me peace of mind on the bill paying front. I top the account up whenever I'm over, and it has the added bonus of giving an emergency cash supply.  Also, it is sometimes useful to pay by cheque for some larger items bought in Italy, or if you have work done to the house.

Hello, Enter the electric company web site, get yourself an user ID and password. Enter the selection pay online and pay with your credit card. While you are online, make a request to get your bills electronically to your email.good luck

We pay by direct debit through our bank account and we are not residents... We have been doing this for more than 5 years now. I don't think that there is any restriction regarding direct debit and we always do this providing that the payee accepts it. I do not know whether the Post Office account allows for this as we are not with them. We possibly pay more in account fees and charges, but service wise it is an advantage, particularly when you are not a permanent resident.

We too pay our bills via DD from our Italian bank account and have always done this.However, if you register on the site it is possible to have your bill sent via email rather than to receive a paper copy - it is exactly the same format as the paper version and on one of the pages it lists the various payment methods - it states it is also posible to pay via  bank transfer, all the account/IBAN numbers etc are provided and it does say you can pay via credit card if you are registered via the enel site. So I would ask to receive your bill via email, that way you will get it wherever you are and also speak to them and see if either of these alternative methods of payment are open to you as non- resident, I would have thought at least one of them is! 

Hello, it seems you have the answer to my problem.  I have spent a couple of hours trying to register on Enel's website to receive my bills by email, but so far, without success.  Woul you mind please telling what to click on to request this?  So far, I have registered with 'My Enel'

I have been trying to figure this out for 2 years.  Even my Italian friend at work cannot figure it out.  I always get the following page when I think I have finally found a way to sign up...PAGE NOT FOUNDOf all the beauracratic nonsense in Italy this is by far the worst thing I have ever experienced since the invention of the internet.  Their website just goes in circles.  And then the "help" consultation says it is the wrong website....Please if anyone has specific instructions of how to sign up for e-bills and how to pay via bank transfer it would be most appreciated.  

This is really helpful and I'm going to have another go! Did online for a year and then bounced; think they changed bank. I think each bit of ENEL have different accounts; I got bills sent to England and now told they can't do it, have also had a go at Italy powered but may need to sign a load of documents to take back to ENEL office. Thought I'd set up DD 10 years ago but my Bank told me to go to ENEL. I'm going to check if magic has worked next week. 

the only "weak link" is using the banca posta rather than a proper bank, who do not care where you live and will fill in the form and ensure the direct debit has gone thru to enel/telecom and all the others.

The fact they don't care would worry some... I would also be a little concerned setting up a DD in Italy as I would guess if they take off 10,000 for some reason and it's wrong, it will be a lot harder to correct it here as it would in the UK... Like has been said, log on for e-bills and pay however you like...  :)

We too pay our enel and water bills by direct debit through the bank, and so far no problems at all.  I can log on to our bank account and can also pay other bills through them from England.  Does make life simpler.

I have managed to register online with Enel, but they say you can only pay online with an Italian-registered credit card. Also they will only accept certain cards. We have an Italian Banca posta card but it is Maestro which is not one of the accepted types. I am reluctant to open an Italian bank account just to pay bills.

Is the card for a Poste account? If so can you not pay online on the Postesite via this a/c? The fact you are on the ENEL site at least allows you to view your bills and know they are due. Now all you need is to find some way (person) to pay them... There are Italian (or other Euro) accounts that cost nothing to run, most are online a/c only, but that would be ideal if you can pay via the account. Think ING, Poste Click and Intesa are/have such  accounts...

Hi there, I have just opened up a poste italiane postepay online account. Someone mentioned something about using PayPal to credit the poste pay card. Do you know how to do this?I need to pay an equitalia bill desperatley as I am not currently in Italy. Thank youMaria

In reply to by flyingveepixie

I pay ENEL by DD and also registered with them on-line.  I get an email from them advising me what the payment will be and when it will be requested, then a further email advising that the bill has been paid.  I am happy despite the bank charges as is gives me the peace of mind that nothing will be cut off when I am not there to pay the bills (Gas & Water by DD too).  I still get a paper copy of the bill sent to the house in Italy, so have a paper record as well.

I agree the ENEL site is a bit difficult, but using the Google page translation and it's ok... The OP has indicated they may not have an Italian bank account, so they can't go that route just now. We can check our current and previous meter readings via our meter, just press the white button a few times.... :)

It is true that Italian bank fees are high. On the other hand, you have to consider convenience and certainly, having all your bills on direct debit gives you peace of mind. If you are not a resident, you save yourself time and money by having this kind of arrangements. You have to do a bit of homework and find out which is the most convenient solution. I think that we also pay about 120 or 150 € in bank charges every year, but we are happy with our arrangements and we know that we can call or email our bank if we need assistance on matters that we cannot fix through net banking.

Originally, I paid my Enel bills by direct debit, but baulked at the huge charges, and closed my Italian bank account. I then filled out the same form on three separate occasions at the local Enel shop, to allow payment by direct debit on a UK issued credit card. This worked well, until the card expired, as they do, payment was refused, and the power cut off. Well, reduced, anyway. Since the bill only arrives six times a year, both by email and snailmail, I now pay it direct from my Irish (free) Euro account. There's a facility to use previous payment details, so all I have to alter is the invoice no. Of course, the downside of this is that a refund to my time-expired credit card had nowhere to go, and has resided for the last year or so in Enel's vast coffers. But it was only 30 euros, so heigh ho. I looked into paying by some other, simple, method, which I've forgotten now, but this relied on the recipient being signatory to SEPA, which stands, I think, for Single European Payment Agreement, or Area, and have a wild guess at what Enel's attitude to this might be??

When I first got my house, electricity and water were owned by the comune and they couldn't do online payments, so I had my bills sent direct to a friend in another part of Italy, gave her a UK-issued euro pre-paid card which I top-up from the UK as necessary. She texts me the amount so I have a record till I physically get the bills from her on my next visit. Works pretty well. It's another option.

we are in same situation as you describe. Have got BancoPosta on line, plus registered with Enel (and CIIP for water) so can 'see' bills, get the emails when they fall due, receive paper copies and pay electronically. You will need BPs security device to make payments as well as a card. Easy enough to register your italian address with the local postal office on application to start with and subsequently ask them at the local office to change mailing address to your UK address for a period as you will be away. As someone esle has posted, you can only use an italian issued credit card to pay enel. Wouldn't trust a DD.

 Thank you to everyone who made suggestions and omments.In the end we have given the property manager our online details for the Enel account, and she can now log on and see if any bills need paying, and pay them online, using our BancaPosta card..This way we don't have to have a bank account, and we don't have to rely on the post office to deliver bills to the Italian house.I must say when I read Poetica saying  "Easy enough to register your italian address with the local postal office on application to start with and subsequently ask them at the local office to change mailing address to your UK address" I was moved to hollow laughter. We tried to to ask the post office to send our mail to our next door neighbour, but not only did this take over an hour - and  our kind neighbour had to go there the next day as well to fill in forms - it still did not work, as she reported finding a bill on the steps to our house. We have a post-box, but it is at the top of the steps! Why is it that Italian institutions are still in the pre-digital age? (Apart from Enel, and even then...) Still, it's all part of the joy of living in Italy!  Cheers, Karen

Well lost my 1st reply, so I'll try again.... Will be surprised if you find an email address, and even more so if you get a reply! Assuming you have a bill, then top right will tell you which part of ENEL you are dealing with. I would then suggest you register on their site here and either chat with them on-line (yes, neither would I dare) or see if you can contact them via your account registration.

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so awful. Glad you have a solution at last Karen. I pay somebody to check my place. They do it for a nuber of people. They pay any bills that come in. I reimburse or pay in advance when there. Not thr best. If I was more PC savvy and had better Italian I would try the ebiling. Haven't got round to it yet.

Well, after 5 hours I give up.  I've got absolutely nowhere.  I've been on four different versions of the Enel website, have been misdirected no end of times to pages that do not exist.Eventually it seems like it is indeed possible to have online access and pay your bills by direct debit, but this option requires an IBAN number so it is right back full circle to needing an Italian bank account.  I only go to the property once a year and to be honest it is just not worth it any more.  I am going to just stop paying, let them shut off the electrics again and just buy some candles at Auchan when I arrive.  Buying a property in Italy was one of the worst mistakes of my life. 

Well if I were really cruel I would say you are the problem, not ENEL, not your house in Italy... BUT 5 hours! That is a lot of time out of ones life for paying a bill.... It's sad that it has made you feel that way, perhaps you need someone near by that's done all this and has it working to show you. Is there a local ex-pats forum for your area? Most have someone that does this type of thing as a business, ok you may have to pay, but at least it would make life easier... Just in case you do want to have another look, you have spotted that you need to know which part of ENEL you need?  Here is their home page, near top RIGHT under the banner in the black box there is "Servizi", above is a number of icons. If you hover over either of the 1st two, one is "Maggior Tutela" and the other is "Libero Mercato", I believe the two different parts. I can only advise on the first "Maggior Tutela" as this is our service, your bill top RIGHT will tell you this if the same as ours. If you click this button more icons appear "La tua bolleta" takes you to the registration page. I've looked at the other option "Libero Mercato" and that is taking you to a different ENEL site, so it matters which you pick..Do hope this helps, as I only logged back in here to reply to your post!

HI thank you very much Steve.  I've spent several more hours today.  It appears that every European country has a different length of IBAN code so it is impossible to pay a bill with a UK bank account or set up a direct debit.  The Enel website says it is possible to pay with Paypal but there are no instructions how to do so.I have tried to sign up for an online bank account with ING, Poste Italia and several others but they all require an Italian identity card or an existing Italian bank account in order to allow me to sign up.Unfortuantely Italy is a closed off country and it is only possible to do something if like you say, you pay someone else to do it for you or pay the banks 12 euros / month for the "service" of keeping our money. I can definitively say that there is absolutely no way around this.  I only wish my estate agent worked as hard trying to sell my apartment as I have trying to pay my 16 euro per month bills.  Which are for using ZERO electricity and my electricity has been cut off by Enel.  Yes I have had enough.  Thanks for your answer.  I have now booked a flight on RyanAir in the hope that someone somewhere in Italy can help me.

The biggest problem I have had is that even though I successfully registered on the site it is not linked in any way to my account and when I go to what is supposedly the correct place it just says that "this service is unavailable."  I am truly giving up and will just bring some candles next month.  I can use my Calor gas canister to heat water and have a bath in the sink.  Like Italian banks I can live like it is still 1850.  

This is what I see after I successfully log in and enter my Client Number.  And since no one speaks English at their helpline and my Italian is not good enough to discuss such complicated matters, I am back full circle again...AvvisoGentile cliente, per la fornitura selezionata non è possibile effettuare l'operazione richiesta.Per ulteriori informazioni, ti preghiamo di contattare i nostri operatorial Numero Verde 800 900 800 oppure di rivolgerti ai nostri sportelli sul territorio.Per sapere qual'è il Punto Enel più comodo per te, clicca qui.Grazie.  

Really sorry to hear that jgudorf. You don't say which service you are libero or Tutela? If the latter (ours), then we did have a problem with this page and it was to do with the number entered. Intially I did as I would in the UK and did not add the "/" with a number after it. Once added it worked, HOWEVER, now it objects to the "/" and I only enter our 9 didgit number, "Numero cliente" on your bill top right, without spaces... is how it works for ours...Saying all that I'm not really sure how this is going to help you, apart from knowing there is a bill to pay as you indicate you don't have an Italian a/c to pay from.... Not tried it, but you could possible pay a few other ways; Paypal, Sisal or a poste prepaid credit card. Not too sure of the costs of any of these... Paypal I've not used for a long time, but would guess you would need the IBAN details to pay (as you would with most payments). Last thing you would want to do is pay via a UK bank as it will cost an arm and a leg... Other options are someone like CurrencyFair or Transferwise, the latter would be about £1 per payment, again you will need IBAN detail, but these are really not hard to get!  I'm guessing here, as my Italian is poor, but think the Bank a/c to pay is on the DD authorisation on the back of your bill. I'll have a poke around as I'm sure you can trace IBANs (in fact know you can) from the company name. Note they don't have paypal on their method of payment, so guess it will be an IBAN payment...jgudorf

I think the reason for my heightened frustration is that I have used to make international payments in many currencies for many years.  I move money back and forth between accounts in the U.S. and U.K. frequently and have paid individuals directly in Italy using and Paypal.  But there is no way to pay Enel since there is no way to put a notation on of your account number without doing a complicated Wire Transfer which costs £20 per transaction.  And although the Enel website says they now accept Paypal in a secure way there is no link to do so and no information about how to do it.  When I did a live chat with an Enel representative they told me that using Paypal was not possible and I was on the wrong website (again) having been redirected to some other versoin of Enel unknowingly yet again.  I have a long list of IBAN numbers for banks that handle payments for Enel.  But there is no way to identify which account you are paying for, so you then have to make several phone calls and send FAXES to confirm your payments.  We did this a few months ago to pay all of our outstanding bills which were going to the wrong address.  It took 4 phone calls and 3 faxes for them to confirm we had paid.  After 3 months we still have not received confirmation that our electricity has been switched back on.So I am flying out next month to flick the switch since this is the only way to find out - DIY.  And will pay the bills in the post office yet again.  Enel should have a marketing agreement with RyanAir.

Pas55 and I thought you were going to pop over and sort it... winkJG, this ENEL page seems to me to be your situation I note what you said about trying this before, so perhaps you do need to comfirm the correct IBAN to use. Perhaps a armed with a print of the page you can go into the office Pas55 give you and get them to tell you which it is - in writing! I know CurrencyFair ( these ) allow two boxes for details to go with your payment, I've used them often. But Transferwise (these ) are cheaper if less than £200 payment ( £1 ), they also allow a reference, but I've not used them so don't know the full details. CurrencyFair charge  flat €3 per payment regardless of amount...

Thank you again Pas55 for taking so much time to try to help me.  I'm going to take the weekend off from thinking about Enel and then try again all of next week.  I think you are correct that there are various companies within the overal company of Enel and it is easy to be re-directed to the "wrong" one.  I will have a look at Currency Fair as well next week.  One thing I discovered on Friday is that it is possible to switch to Edison energy and their website seems much more easy friendly.  It only took 5 minutes to sign up and figure out how to switch.  Of course I still hit a brick wall because I did not have an Italian IBAN number to set up a direct debit.If I can successfully set up a Post Office bank account in October (not possible online) because despite having a Codice Fiscal an Italian address and my passport information they still require an Italian document card or an Italian driving license in order to open an account with the post office.  Simply put Italy likes being closed off from the rest of the world.  This is part of what makes it such an enjoyable place to visit and enables them to maintain their traditions.  However, it also prevents people from investing in the country from outside.  And I would certainly never make that mistake again.

We have a "K Due" card from Banco Popolare. You can use it like a bank account, in particular for internet banking, and set up all your DD payments, make one-off payments etc in euros of course. Charges are minimal. simply top up as necessary from UK.

there are lots of prepay cards now.  The Genius card from Unicredit doesnt even require that you are a bank customer - you can get a card which has an IBAN, have internet banking and just top up the card by bank trasnfer.   Monte dei paschi do a version called Spider - but its costs more. 

Yes, that's exactly the type of thing, the BP one doesn't require you to have a bank account either. From (fallible) memory charges are a simple €1 per transaction. These cards offer pretty well everything except loans and overdrafts. Makes life easier and you save a bit of currency exchange costs by transferring larger lumps less often. No fuss internet banking. I have noted that transfers from UK account take a couple of days longer for no apparent reason. No other drawbacks. For what it's worth the bank told us that they were happy to open a conventional account even if non-resident.

If it is alternative payments being wanted, you can pay by Transferwise or CurrencyFair, former being cheaper under £200. You could also use either of these to top-up an Italian card. However if you need to see your bills, then you still need to get past the ENEL registration.