Italy to unveil new $5.4 billion package to soften energy costs, officials say By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Prime Minister’s office Chigi Palace on the day Mario Draghi is expected to address the Parliament after he tendered his resignation last week in the wake of a mutiny by a coalition partner, in Rome, Italy July 20, 2022.

By Giuseppe Fonte

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will detail on Tuesday a new package of measures worth almost 5 billion euros ($5.41 billion) to cut costly energy bills paid by families and firms, government officials said.

The office of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called a press conference at the end of the cabinet meeting scheduled for 1500 GMT to discuss the measures.

Rome earmarked over 21 billion euros in its 2023 budget to soften the impact of energy costs on the euro zone’s third-largest economy in the first quarter of this year.

Meloni aims to revamp these measures using part of the funding initially set aside but not yet spent due to a recent drop in energy prices, the officials said.

The benchmark gas contract on the Dutch TTF hub hovers around 42 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) at present, sharply down from 73 euros in early 2023.

The government will extend until June an existing bonus aimed at cutting energy bills paid by low-income households, which benefits people with an annual income of up to 15,000 euros.

Separate tax bonuses will help firms whose spending for electricity and gas supplies in the first quarter of 2023 increased by more than 30% compared with the same period in the year 2019.

A flat-flee bonus to compensate gas costs for families will take effect from October until December.

Rome also intends to soften a windfall tax weighing on energy companies that have benefited last year from oil and gas prices.

The right-wing administration plans to apply a 50% one-off levy on the part of 2022 corporate income which is at least 10% higher than the average income reported between 2018 and 2021.

Italy said last November it expected to raise around 2.565 billion euros from the scheme, but now the Treasury wants to exclude part of the companies’ reserves from the 2022 income which is needed to estimate the tax due, according to the draft.

($1 = 0.9235 euros)

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