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Italy weighs energy-saving measures for winter as power costs bite

Max Civili

Press TV, Rome

Faced with soaring energy costs, Italy is mulling over the adoption of energy-saving measures for the winter. Some members of the European Union have already introduced similar measures in an attempt to reduce gas usage. Press TV's Max Civili reports from Rome.

On Thursday, Italy's outgoing government discussed an energy-saving plan, during a council of ministers, aimed to save up for this winter as part of efforts to reduce the country's dependency on Russian gas.

Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani's plan includes limiting the use of heating in apartment blocks and public buildings.

Italians will be demanded to turn down their central heating by one degree and turn it off for an hour at dusk every day starting in October. It has not been disclosed yet how much the country could save through the new Italy is struggling with increased energy costs as wholesale gas prices have surged to historic levels across Europe since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Italy and a few other countries, including Belgium and the Czech Republic, are among those seeking an EU price cap on gas-for-power but some members of the bloc, including France, are against this option.

An emergency meeting of European Union energy ministers will be held in Brussels on September 9 to reach a consensus on tackling skyrocketing power costs.

Meanwhile, the Italian confederation of enterprises Confcommercio has warned some 120,000 Italian service sector firms could go out of business over the next ten months if energy costs keep rising at their current pace, Confcommercio - which has estimated that 370,000 jobs are at risk - is calling on the government to extend tax relief and to mandate that bills can be paid in smaller installments.

The bad news for Italy doesn't stop there. Inflation jumped to 9% in August from 8.4% the month before. Financial analysts expect inflation to grow further, reaching 10% in October.

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