Italy’s restaurateurs issue electricity bills in shop windows

Italian bar owners display their electricity bills in their shop windows to justify the price increases

The campaign is supported by the trade association Confcommercio. In the next few days, the association will distribute a picture frame to the local operators, which is intended to make the latest gas and electricity bills visible to the public. “A large-scale nationwide campaign aims to make the citizens and patrons of bars and restaurants aware of the dramatic situation in which companies find themselves,” lamented Aldo Cursano, vice president of FIPE-Confcommercio, in a press release on Wednesday. Gas bills have tripled in several cases.

“If the government does not intervene, the local owners will either continue to raise prices or go out of business. We are counting on the sensitivity of citizens and customers,” the trade association said. The support measures taken so far by the government are completely insufficient for the additional costs arising for companies due to the high energy prices. The association warned of an inflationary spiral that would bring Italy’s already stagnant consumption to a standstill.

Pizza price doubled

Many pizzeria owners have to revise their prices upwards, and often with a heavy heart. “I was forced to charge 10 euros for a Margherita pizza instead of 5 as before, otherwise I would have to close the restaurant,” complained Alberto Rovati, owner of the Funky Gallo pizzeria in Roncadello in Lombardy. To justify the higher prices for his dishes, he also hung the last electricity bill in the window of his pizzeria. For the month of July, he had to pay a bill of 4,000 euros, which was 300 percent higher than in July 2021, when he had to pay 1,350 euros. “I don’t want to scare my customers by issuing the invoice, I just want to send a signal that things can’t go on like this. As long as I can make it, I’ll keep working, then we’ll see,” says Rovati.

What affects the pizzeria owner on a small scale, taxes companies on a larger scale, especially in corporations with high energy requirements. The owner of a canning factory near the southern Italian port of Salerno received an electricity bill of one million euros, almost ten times more than in the same period a year ago. Entrepreneur Francesco Francese published the two electricity bills for July 2022 and the comparative month of 2021 on social networks.

prices explode

According to the entrepreneur, a year ago the bill was a high but “acceptable” amount of 120,000 euros, since July and August are the hot phase of tomato processing. The electricity bill for July 2022 alone of 978,000 euros, on the other hand, surprised and angered the manufacturer, who published a bitter comment in addition to the photos of the bills. “While our politicians compete for a seat in Parliament, entrepreneurs are left alone in the middle of the energy jungle,” Francese wrote, referring to the September 25 general election.

Italian families and companies have been burdened by high energy prices for months. A few weeks ago, the government of outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi released an aid package with support measures in the order of 14 billion euros to cushion the negative effects of high energy prices. However, this is considered insufficient by the entrepreneurs.