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Milder weather could rein in Italy's gas bills in Jan -energy authority

Electrical power pylons of high-tension electricity power lines in Pietrafitta

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's regulated gas bills are likely to fall this month if prevailing milder temperatures help keep prices of the fuel in Europe at current levels, the chief of the energy authority was quoted as saying in an interview on Wednesday.

Milder temperatures are currently having a bigger impact on prices than the war in Ukraine, ARERA President Stefano Besseghini told the daily Il Corriere della Sera.

"If temperatures remain as they are, we might not affect gas storages too much," he said, adding that this would have a positive effect on both spot and forward markets, while a recently introduced method to calculate bills also had a role.

Late last year ARERA, which sets gas prices for Italian consumers, started setting regulated prices on a monthly, rather than quarterly basis, as market uncertainty over supplies grew on the back of the war in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the authority that the price an average Italian household pays for its gas rose by 64.8% in 2022 on the year, while December's price was up 23.3% from the previous month.

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni; Editing by Cristina Carlevaro and Clarence Fernandez)