Signing Up for Electricity
Electric Appointment & Contract: Housing will assist you in setting up your contract with the electric company after you have signed your housing lease. About 10 days after signing up for electricity, you will get an initial bill and contract in the mail. You must take the contract to Housing and sign it.
Housing will submit the contract on your behalf to the electric company.
Private Rental Electricity: Italian households are often unable to handle high-energy demands (e.g. dryer + dishwasher running at once) and will blow a fuse if consumption goes over the contractual limit. For a high fee you can increase the available kilowatts in your rental, but the fee for electricity will increase as well.
NOTE: Be prepared to pay a contract fee and refundable deposit.
NOTE: All electric customers are charged an Italian public tv license fee (“canone Rai”), about 100€/year in installments. If it’s on your bill, contact Housing to learn how to get a refund.
United States vs. European Electricity
United States vs. European Electricity:
- USA: 110-120 Volts 60 hertz
- Europe: 220-240 Volts 50 hertz
Dual Voltage Devices
If a device is dual voltage/hertz, you can use it without a transformer and plug directly into the sockets in Europe with the assistance of a plug adapter. If your device is dual voltage/hertz, its power source will be labeled: “110-240V, 50-60Hz”.
NOTE: Lamps generally do not need to be dual voltage to work in Europe. Change the 110v U.S. light bulb to a European bulb, add a plug adapter and plug in.
Adapter vs. Transformer
Plug Adapter: Allows dual-voltage electronics to adapt into the European electrical outlet. of host nation outlet.
Transformer: Adjusts the voltage [not Hertz] of electronics with chips or circuit boards. It can be used continuously.
Ensure the total wattage of items plugged in does not exceed the max wattage of the transformer. The base furniture management office will issue you 2 transformers (pending availability).
NOTE: The constant use of a transformer may significantly increase your electricity bill.
- Plug U.S. device into German SCHUKO adapter
- Plug German adapter into Italian adapter.
Converter: Used to adjust voltage (not hertz) for light-duty electronics that don’t require grounding. Use only for an hour or so and unplug when done. Not recommended.
Transformer: Used to adjust voltage (not hertz) for electronics with chips or circuit boards. It can be used continuously. Ensure the total wattage of items plugged in does not exceed the max wattage of the transformer.
NOTE: You are better off storing clocks, high-dollar 110v electronics, or those that are only dual voltage (and not dual hertz) rather than using a transformer. Because transformers do not convert frequency (Hz) they can wear out electronic circuits and motors. This fact also prevents transformers from keeping accurate time on 110v clocks.
Wireless Illegal Frequencies (check your devices)
In Italy, it is illegal to use wireless devices such as cordless phones, baby monitors or walkie-talkies that do not apply European standards (CE). Italian inspectors regularly monitor illegal frequencies. Fines are €1,000+.