Competition in public utility sectors has been encouraged in recent years throughout Europe. In this paper we try and analyse the welfare effects of these reforms in Italy, with particular attention to water and energy goods. The first step is to introduce a sensible measure of affordability of public utilities and to see how many households fall below a critical threshold. This issue is analysed stressing how climatic conditions dramatically affect households' expenditure and how the affordability of utility bills varies a lot from region to region. So far, utilities' reforms do not seem to have produced negative effects on the weaker group of households.