There are not only the gas and electricity prices to bring entire productive sectors to their knees. For the energy-intensive companies the problem is also to succeed in renew contracts for energy supply. It happens, in fact, that some are asked for large advances or sureties to guarantee the payment of future bills. It is the case of Olympiaa ceramic company with 40 employees based in Corchiano, in the province of Viterbo. Although the company is a customer of Eni for forty years – even if now its subsidiary Plenitude sends the bill – a few days ago the energy giant put it in front of a either-or.
“They told us the only way to continue supplying us with gas was to pay an advance of 300 thousand euros or open one bank guarantee of half a million, and this without knowing the real consumption. If we hadn’t agreed to the request, they would have turned off the taps ”, explains a ilfattoquotidiano.it Giampiero Patriziexport manager of Olympia and president of Federlazio Ceramiche. The company decided to switch to Sorgenia, which, on the other hand, did not set such stringent conditions. However, since the contracts are generally at variable prices, there will be no savings on the cost of gas, the increases of which in recent months have put a strain on Olympia and the entire ceramic district of Civita Castellana, the largest in Central Italy.
In fact, in a year, the company’s gas bill is increased by 439%, passing by 20,424 euros in July 2021 to the 110,185 euros last July. “And this having consumed the 24% less gas. If we had consumed as last year, the increase would have been precisely 600%”Continues Patrizi. “The situation is very critical. The average incidence of the cost of gas on a piece is ten times more. Unfortunately there will certainly be one production reduction: we only produce the material that we have to ship because, at these prices, it is not possible to do warehouse“. With the risk of having to resort to layoffs which becomes more and more concrete. Then there is the theme of competitioneven internationally, which prevents the price increases from being passed on to the finished product.
“As we have to please our customers, we are also selling items with a production cost higher than selling prices. Also because, both us as Olympia and the Civita Castellana district, we export 60% of our production, and therefore we are confronted with international competitors, such as the Germans, the Turks and the Spaniardswhich since May can count on a ceiling on the price of gas. All this risks sending us out of business ”. In such a scenario, the only solution seems to be to impose a limit on the price of gas. “We have been complaining for a year that it is too high because of the speculation, but the government only realized it now. What needs to be done is put up a roof at the price of gas “
IlFattoquotidiano.it asked Eni and its subsidiary Plenitude for a comment. No response was received at the time of publication.
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