Rome

Italian antitrust warns electricity poised for trouble

Says conventional plants not covering costs, price hikes likely

Italian antitrust warns electricity poised for trouble

Rome, June 18 - The chief of Italy's antitrust authority warned parliament on Tuesday that the electricity sector was in peril of deep, damaging change. Electricity "is seeing profound changes loaded with pitfalls," said Giovanni Pitruzzella, president of the Italian antitrust authority, in a presentation of the watchdog's annual report. Declining consumption and the spread of renewable energy are creating conditions in which conventional thermal-power plants are unable to cover their costs. Thus the market is veering toward consolidation and "probable" energy price increases, Pitruzzella said. A longstanding lament of Italian manufacturers and other businesses is that Italian power is too expensive, making it difficult for private enterprises to compete in global markets. Electricity costs 30% more in Italy than the European Union country average, a representative of the Italian industry federation Confindustria told journalists at a Milan presentation on the automaker Fiat on Friday.

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