The Italian Senate has approved legislation to institute regulatory authorities to set rates and supervise quality, service, and competition in the provision of electric energy and gas, and in communications (including telecommunications and broadcasting). The bill in question is Legislative Proposal 359-B, which we discuss in a separate entry in this data base.

Senate approval of Proposal 359-B was achieved only when the Government of Mr. Lamberto Dini threatened to resign if opponents continued to block its passage. The Proposal will now move to the House ("Camera dei Deputati"), and may be approved quickly because it has been only slightly amended since the House last saw the Proposal, or may face opposition similar to that which made its approval by the Senate very difficult.

Approval of the Proposal is a prerequisite to the privatization of the Italian utilities companies, and once it passes into law, the plans for utilities privatizations, beginning with that of the Italian electric company ("ENEL") may be submitted to Parliament for approval.

The content of this article is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. It does not substitute the advice of legal counsel.