Italians faced with 40% hike in electricity bills

Prices for gas and electricity are soaring in Europe as winter approaches. [Shutterstock/wk1003mike]

Ecological transition Minister Roberto Cingolani warned Italians that they should brace for a 40% increase in their electricity and gas bills in the next couple of months. Speaking at a conference in Genova, Cingolani said “the government is committed to mitigating the costs of bills, to ensure that the international transition to more sustainable energies is rapid and does not penalise families”.

The price of electricity had already increased by 20% last quarter: in that instance, the government had supported households with €1.2 billion to keep the increase in bill prices below 10%. Similar solutions could also be considered to limit the upcoming increases, but the government is also apparently studying more structural measures.

Experts had been projecting this rise in electricity prices for a while based on two reasons.

On the one hand, the restarting of the economy after the pandemic slowdown has resulted in a higher demand for electricity and, therefore, the raw materials to produce it. These materials, such as natural gas and oil, are currently harder and more expensive than usual to retrieve.

The situation is particularly fragile in Europe, whose dependence on Russian resources has created problems since Moscow started to increasingly turn to its Asian clients instead.

On the other hand, there’s the rising price of permits to emit carbon dioxide through the European Emission Trading system.

To tackle the same issue, Spain’s left-wing has just approved a new package of measures, including a tax cut. Pedro Sanchez’s so-called “shock plan” will see the country’s special electricity tax dropping to 0.5%, way down from the previous 5.1%. The plan also includes the creation of a new tax to put a temporary brake on the windfall profits of electricity companies. The measure is expected to generate €2.6 billion.

(Viola Stefanello | EURACTIV.it)

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