Italy is expanding its shield to increase energy prices for businesses and consumers

Italy is expanding its shield to increase energy prices for businesses and consumers

On Wednesday, Italy’s government said that it extended a measure to shield families and also the businesses from soaring energy bills.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s coalition has already allocated more than 30 billion euros ($31.7 billion) to protect the economy from higher energy prices, driven by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Highly reliant on gas imports, Italy is among the hardest hit among major euro-area economies.

Discounts for consumers in need were extended into the third quarter, according to a government statement. A new decree also includes urgent measures to guarantee liquidity for companies involved in natural gas storage.

A cabinet meeting Wednesday came as the Draghi administration faces its worst turmoil since the premier took power in 2021. The Five Star Movement, the biggest party in his coalition, has fractured following the Tuesday resignation from the party of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

Italy’s gas storage facilities are about 55% full, according to a statement published Tuesday, in line with the rest of Europe.

Italy is also mandating gas grid operator Snam SpA to increase gas purchases in order to hit storage targets for June after Russia cut flows to Europe last week. Still, Rome is not planning to increase the alert level for gas at the moment.

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