Utilities are expected to be allowed to burn more fuel oil for power generation in a bid to stave off a pending crisis in gas supplies available in Italy.

The Italian government has drafted a bill to allow utilities to use more fuel oil in the wake of falling supplies from Russia which could lead to power cuts as soon as February and March if cold weather continues.

Enel and Edison have sought government reassurance to burn oil rather than cleaner gas and a responsive market for more expensive oil-generated power.

If granted, the government ruling will permit utilities to temporarily increase CO2 emissions.