Italy reserves more than 3 billion euros to reduce its energy bill
ROME, September 23 (Reuters) – The Italian government has set aside more than 3 billion euros ($ 3.5 billion) to curb the sharp rise in retail energy bills in the last three months of the year, triggered by soaring natural gas prices in many world markets.
After a cabinet meeting on Thursday, he said he decided to eliminate a series of system fees from consumer bills, cut taxes and increase electricity and gas premiums for the less well off. .
The measures are designed to help more than 5.5 million low-income consumers and about 6 million very small and small businesses.
System charges, which include items such as overheads to cover renewables subsidies and nuclear decommissioning, average over 20% of Italians’ final bills.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi said earlier Thursday that the increase in energy prices was partly temporary, but added that if nothing is done, electricity prices could rise by 40% over the course of the next quarter and 30% gas.
“These measures must be followed by actions, including at European level, to diversify energy supplies and strengthen the negotiating power of buyer countries,” he said.
Spain urged the European Commission on Monday to develop guidance to help member states respond coherently to spikes in electricity prices without testing the bloc’s rules.
Households across Europe face much higher energy bills in the winter due to soaring wholesale electricity and gas prices, and consumer groups have warned that the most vulnerable in the region could therefore experience fuel poverty.
Italy’s energy regulator sets gas and electricity prices in the non-liberalized retail market every three months and will set prices for the final quarter before the end of this month.
In its last quarterly review, it increased electricity prices by 9.9% but said the increase would have been around 20% if Rome had not injected 1.2 billion euros in resources for reduce system costs.
($ 1 = 0.8519 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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