September 16, 2021
Done. We have found the solution: to cut bills we raise taxes. Does this seem like a rip off? Wait to say it. The brilliant idea, guess what, came up with Giuseppe Conte, that, in the aftermath of the meeting with the minister Roberto Cingolani, who evidently made him part of the secrets of energy tariffs, he too wanted to come up with a recipe to avoid the sting on electricity and gas. Matteo Salvini proposes to cancel the VAT which weighs about 5 billion? The Democratic Party asks the government to allocate adequate resources to calm prices, as was done in July? And here is the solution of the former premier which, unlike the others, is “structural”: transfer the resources of the system charges to general taxation.
What is it about in detail? It should be known that in addition to taxes (VAT and excise duty), in the bills we pay to power our appliances, light up our rooms and heat the water, there is a non-negligible share that does not concern consumption or even the expenses incurred. by operators for the transport of gas and electricity or for the management of meters. It is simply an offering that we pay, upon decision of the legislator, to finance a series of items that have to do in general with the world of energy.
Inside there is a bit of everything. From subsidies to energy-intensive companies (1,661.65 million euros) to those in the railway sector (443.53), from research funding (50.38) to the energy efficiency of the electricity system (920.28) from the social bonus (255 , 51) to the dismantling of the old nuclear centers (442,94). But the biggest booty is, listen, listen, what the champions of the green revolution bring home, the producers of renewable energy. To them, with our bills, we give a total of 10,127 million euros. The total bill is very high. In 2020, system charges amounted to just under € 15 billion, a quarter of total energy expenditure. And we come to Conte, who proposes to move these 15 billion to the back of taxpayers. The proposal, needless to say, is not all his own work.
For years, the Energy Authority (Arera), for reasons of transparency and comprehensibility of tariffs, has advised to purge bills of all improper charges. The pentastellato leader also makes it a question of fairness, because these costs “are charged in a non-progressive manner with respect to personal income”. In short, the usual story of plucking the rich, regardless of consumption. But the real point is that Conte’s gimmick does not neutralize the sting at all, it simply moves it from one side to the other. In a blatant and clumsy game of three cards where in the end it is always the Italians who take it in the pocket.
Yes, because offloading system charges on taxes does not shift the problem of uncontrolled increases due to the increase in the prices of raw materials and the EU’s environmental policies by one iota. It’s just an optical illusion, a deception. The price of energy will continue to rise and in addition the Italians will find themselves with 15 billion of additional needs to be covered with as many taxes. The problem, at least in the immediate future, is to remove, not to move. And to get rid of it, the path indicated by most of the majority follows, which is also the one they are working on Mario Draghi and the Minister of Economy, Daniele Franco, and billions are found to sterilize VAT or to compensate for the increases in another way, or to scrape off those 15 billion of improper charges.
Especially those incentives for photovoltaics, wind and water which, considering the 70 billion allocated by the Recovery Plan to the ecological transition, and therefore precisely to those clean sources, no longer make much sense. The most popular hypothesis, for now, is the first. Finding the sum necessary overnight to mitigate the announced increases of up to 40% is not easy. Also because in these days Franco is trying to make ends meet for the presentation, by September 27, of the Update to the Def, where for a growth that is running (6% is estimated), there is a debt that rises (in July a new record at 2,725 billion).
But it seems that the government, in the folds of the budget, has managed to recover 3 billion. Pending structural operations such as the one on VAT, which could also be maneuvered due to its European implications, Draghi is thinking of stopping the price increases by intervening precisely on system charges. Not, at least according to what leaked last night, with Conte’s game, but with a spot cut similar to the one made in July with the allocation of 1.2 billion. In other words, it only compensates for the next quarter. We’ll see. The topic is on the table of the Council of Ministers today and is considered a top priority. Also because the effects on the cost of living are beginning to be seen. Istat certified the increase in inflation in August of 0.4% over the month and by 2% on 2020. To push prices to the maximum since January 2013 were precisely energy goods, whose prices continue to have a very large growth both for the component regulated and unregulated.