Gas crisis, businesses and households at risk: “It will be carnage”

There is less and less GAS and what there is costs more and more. Businesses, households and companies that sell energy are at risk. Will government interventions be able to calm prices and always guarantee the supply of gas?

The GAS crisis runs on the pipes that connect Norway, Russia and North Africa to the European continent. Indeed it runs less and less in reality and the risk that some pipeline remains dry is always stronger.

Businesses fail who sell retail energy. The first Italian case is that of Green Network, but there are plenty of them in other countries, especially Great Britain where about twenty have already gone bankrupt. But we will talk more about it at the end of this article.

It is a crisis, that of gas, which is sending the entire Italian production chain into fibrillation and is undermining the financial stability of families. The government has already intervened to cover the first quarter of next year, but for many it would not be enough.

Confartigianato has made and is making a strong appeal to the government not to “shut down businesses “. A real risk if gas prices continue to rise and above all if one were forced to stem any situation of shortage or blockage of supply by decreasing production activities. The three Confederations of crafts and SMEs have presented a dossier from which emerge the heavy imbalances in the structure of the energy bill that penalize small entrepreneurs.

To the position taken by Confartigianato is also added that of Gas Intensive. The Consortium that links hundreds of Italian companies belonging to the manufacturing sectors of bricks, paper, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, tiles, ceramics, glass, lime and gypsum, all characterized by an intense use of gas. The consortium potentially represents the largest industrial consumer of natural gas in Italy.

“The prospect for Italian companies, they say, is therefore that of having to face the winter months with the forecast of prohibitive costs and risks for the same supplies. Gas cost increases for business more than 400% they cannot be dismissed as “passengers”.

But the biggest risk is that linked to any non-payment.

A risk of blackout in the presence of insufficient stocks, especially in Europe, is increasingly real and requires adequate remuneration and appropriate elements of flexibility to be able to manage any production stoppages. Businesses are planning their activities for next winter and it is unacceptable that they still do not have adequate indications in this regard today, a few working days before the end of the year.

But it’s not just a business issue. Families are also heavily involved in the gas crisis.

It will be a carnage says Marco Vignola, head of the energy sector of the National Consumers Union. There is a need for a double treasury than that already budgeted by the government. In addition, an immediate recalculation is urgently needed, ie a structural reform of energy bills must be implemented immediately.

If the forecasts made known yesterday by Nomisma were confirmed, it would be a sting on an annual basis, for a typical family, equal to 136 euros for the light, assuming the minimum estimated increase of 17% and 679 for gas, against a rise of 50%, for a total of 815 euros. If, on the other hand, electricity were to rise by 25%, then it would be a € 879 blow: 200 for electricity and 679 for gas.

In short, the picture is really dark. Meanwhile, businesses and families must also pay close attention to the companies to which they entrust their users. The contractual limits towards which many companies in the sector are pushing are reducing many.

In England it was a massacre. But also in Italy, as mentioned, there is the case of Green Network which left 300 thousand users blank. Cases are growing all over the place. The companies in the sector set contractual ceilings that seem, in reality they would be, which remain unchanged over time. However, the rises in the price of gas are so strong that they break through the roofs and put companies in canvas pants.

Leopoldo Gasbarro, December 3, 2021

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