Sicily, companies exhausted by their bills.  Well-known restaurateur from Pozzallo: "Enough, I'll close two places"

Sicily, companies exhausted by their bills. Well-known restaurateur from Pozzallo: “Enough, I’ll close two places”

Inflation, the rise in the price of raw materials and expensive energy: they put a lot of pressure on many companies, which are now on the verge of collapse. From bars to restaurants, from shops to industries, very different sectors but with only one common denominator: the risk of closure. A cry of alarm comes from Enrico Borrometi, a well-known entrepreneur from Pozzallo, owner of four businesses: a restaurant, a pizzeria, a pastry bar and a beach. “The increases in light led me to temporarily close two of my premises to try to understand the best strategy to adopt to better deal with this situation that is putting a strain on us operators” explains Borrometi who after seeing his bills going from € 5,550 to € 17,190 in July alone, it was mobilized to avoid total collapse.

Right from the start he tried to contain the services, such as switching off the air conditioning at certain times and temporarily closing the focacceria due to the excessive consumption that the electric oven entailed. The latter is a young business, which has only been open for six months. The second closure, on 2 September: the energy meters will come off and will be turned on again as soon as you understand what needs to be done since the electricity company has not given the possibility of being able to pay the bill in installments, rejecting the request of the Pozzalloese entrepreneur . It is the only help he asked for and was denied, leaving half the staff of 70 employees at home.

“In the initial phase of this emergency we have tried to reduce electricity as much as possible in favor of gas, but after Putin’s latest interventions which are not at all favorable, we have decided to close the season early by giving up the holidays we usually enjoy in November “he says embittered Borrometi who in these months of detention will have to change the setting of his activities to try to reduce costs which have tripled. A situation that also puts a strain on the professionalism of the chefs, having to renounce for the exorbitant costs even the production of pasta and bread that came from local pasta factories. In fact, according to an analysis by the Cgia study office, in the current year, the increases in gas and electricity prices for Italian production companies will amount to 105.9 billion euros.

The situation of Borrometi it is common to many entrepreneurs who are having to deal with very high bills. The difference is that Borrometi put his face on it like the restaurateur from Cremona who featured the July electricity bill, tripled compared to last year. An outlay of over 4 thousand euros, “300% more” compared to the bill for the same month in 2021, which had stopped at 1350 euros. “When the costs become unsustainable,” the man wrote on a note next to the photocopy of the bill. “Put a pizza Margherita for 10 euros and go as a thief – it was written on the ticket – or close the business”.

His was just a provocation, but now Fipe Confcommerio has decided to take its cue from the restaurateur and has launched a major transparency operation at national level to show citizens and patrons of bars and restaurants in what dramatic situation businesses are forced to operate. The initiative is called “Bills in Showcase”: in the next few days the managers of public establishments associated with FipeConfcommercio will receive a frame to hang on their premises, to display the latest gas and electricity bills. tripled compared to a year ago due to the surge in gas prices. A situation that is forcing merchants to have to choose between price increases, hitherto very modest, and the suspension of activities pending a decisive intervention by of the government.

In July 2021 a bar spent around 2,300 euros for 10,031 kWh, while a year later he spent, with the same consumption, about 6,950 euros. “We ask that there be a tax credit on energy increases and a ceiling on the cost of energy, otherwise it is not possible to work”, warns the director general of Fipe Roberto Calugi. Numbers are also alarmed by Confesercenti which fears the risk of a 10% exit from the market of companies (about 90 thousand), for a total of 250 thousand jobs lost.

Borrometi in Pozzallo has closed only two at the moment of its four premises and confidently awaits concrete measures from the government to alleviate the fallout from gas and electricity prices. Without corrective measures, companies will be forced to download management costs to customers or to close their doors: closures, not only for short periods but also definitive, are very realistic prospects.

“Until this moment – explains Carmelo Picciotto, president of Fipe Messina – the public businesses in Messina have tried to amortize the extra costs without passing them on to their customers. Today, however, the system is no longer sustainable. We are on the verge of collapse, with bills that in many cases exceed two thousand euros a month, even for rather small businesses ».

«The owners of the most important clubs in Catania they call me continuously – said Dario Pistorio, restaurateur from Catania and regional president of Fipe di Confcommercio in an interview with Sole24Ore – the July bills were a slap, those of August risk being a punch: a restaurateur paid 32 thousand euros in July , one thousand euros a day, double the same month of the previous year. Ours are not considered energy-intensive companies and therefore do not have any facilities. We estimate that at least 20% of companies in the sector risk going upside down due to the increase in the cost of energy ».

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