The Italian electricity sector is undergoing a process of liberalization, following the EU directive. The Decree Law is unique in allowing small and medium enterprises (SMES) to access the market through «electricity purchase consortia», instead of directly. Two questions arise: first, what is the impact of the «consortia» on the liberalization process, in terms of transaction costs? Secondly, are they just an obstacle for SMES, or do they gain the firms specific advantages? It is possible to answer these questions by reviewing the activities that the subjects forming a consortium must undertake, and classifying their experiences on the basis of the promoter’s role. The conclusion is that the direct access to the market is better than the consortia, as it reduces transaction costs and it accelerates the liberalization process.