The coming autumn could bring with it maxi-increases on the bills. The government is already working to try to sterilize the record hikes in energy prices and prevent them from spilling over to consumers. Hopefully it will do so before October when Arera, the Italian energy authority, will have to update the gas and electricity tariffs as every quarter, which will incorporate the double-digit growth, seen in recent weeks, in the prices of the main materials. prime. The causes of these increases are due to the long tail of the pandemic in supply chains and the boom in global demand following the post-lockdown recovery. Upstream increases that could soon reach downstream, inflating domestic bills and the energy bill of companies. There are no official figures yet but market analysts expect more or less 30% more for gas and 20% for light.
The latest analysis by Enea, the energy research body, estimates a trend growth in energy demand and emissions of around 6% for the whole of 2021. Only in the period June-August did the demand rise by 24%, due in part to a colder April (more heaters) and a warmer June (more air conditioners). The increase in the prices of raw materials is today more and more a source of concern but in the energy case it is combined with the high costs for CO2 emissions rights that companies have to face in order to incentivize the transition to the green economy. According to Prometeia data, between November 2020 and June 2021 the cost of energy for companies rose by over 70%, that of natural gas by 113%, oil by 67%
“Confindustria is monitoring with concern the cyclical escalation of the prices of the main commodities, including electricity,” said the president of Viale dell’Astronomia Carlo Bonomi. “These market tensions must be managed, they must not make us retreat from the sustainability objectives”. Istat today confirmed that the upward trend will not reverse course in the short term. “From the inflation expectations of economic operators in August, indications of new price increases emerged for the coming months”, reads a note which also notes that “the percentage of consumers expecting a sharp increase in prices has risen. , while firms are expected to increase prices in the construction sector and for goods in the manufacturing sector destined for consumption ”.
Fears of a double-digit percentage increase in autumn bills therefore risk slowing the pace of economic recovery. “The data on industrial production for July are better than estimates and confirm the trend of robust recovery but we are looking with concern at the upward spiral in the prices of energy-related raw materials that can cause economic growth to lose momentum”, notes the CNA.
The Government is therefore thinking of running for cover as it had already done in the height of summer. In July, to prevent energy bills from rising by more than 20%, the Government adopted an emergency measure to mitigate the impact of expensive raw materials and reducing electricity prices to + 9.9% and + 15.3% gas. The result is that on an annual basis, according to Arera’s estimates, a typical Italian family will pay around 62 euros more for electricity and 13 euros more for gas.
But it could have been more. The resources to cushion the (first) blow of the high-energy cost, and included in the Labor and Business Decree of 30 June last, amount to more than a billion. We tried to raise more money from more funds, a part (about 80 million) drawn even from the Parks for the Climate program, and therefore from the Italian green and protected areas. A logical contradiction in times of ecological transition that has not failed to raise controversy, extinguished by the promise of Minister Roberto Cingolani to make up for the shortfall as soon as possible.
The government is now considering implementing similar compensation measures. The idea, hypothesized together with the Energy Authority, is of a long-term intervention on system charges, those that every two months inflate the items in the bill, but which have little to do with actual consumption, because they are destined to coverage of costs related to activities of general interest for the energy system. The most probable hypothesis is to put hand to the levy for the safety of nuclear power and to the tariff concessions recognized for the railway sector. In fact, it should be borne in mind that, as reported by a study by SOStariffe, the energy raw material accounts on average for a fork ranging from 28 to 37% of the final cost. Another hypothesis being studied by the Government is to draw, as done in July, from the funds obtained from the auctions of the European market for CO2 emission permits.
But the problem is not just Italian. According to Eurostat, iThe euro zone inflation rate in August was 3%, up from 2.2% in July, marking the largest price increase in the region since November 2011. Needless to say, it was mainly the voice of energy, which recorded an increase of 15.4% compared to 14.3% in July. Spain, which is hitting record after record and has seen cost rise to its highest level since 2002, said energy prices could triple this year. It is no coincidence that the Spanish government is also thinking of compensatory measures there that can bring the situation back to 2018 levels.
Today on the European markets the price per megawatt hour has exceeded, in some cases even abundantly, 100 euros: in Italy it is around 130 euros, in May 2020 it was around 20 euros. To give a further boost to energy prices, as mentioned, there are the CO2 emission rights in the system of emission quotas (ETS): in practice these are the rights for companies to emit a predetermined quantity of carbon dioxide. These quotas, traded on the markets, have seen their market value increase in tandem with the economic recovery and with the strong push of the European Commission to cut emissions in order to get closer to the goal of climate neutrality. If last March the price was 40 euros per ton, today we have managed to exchange a ton of CO2 for more than 60 euros.