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Italy Extends Energy Price-Hike Shield for Businesses, Consumers

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s government said Wednesday that it extended a measure to shield families and businesses from soaring energy bills.

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Discounts for consumers in need were extended into the third quarter, according to a government statement. A new decree also includes urgent measures to guarantee liquidity for companies involved in natural gas storage.

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Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s coalition has already allocated more than 30 billion euros ($31.7 billion) to protect the economy from higher energy prices, driven by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Highly reliant on gas imports, Italy is among the hardest hit among major euro-area economies.

A cabinet meeting Wednesday came as the Draghi administration faces its worst turmoil since the premier took power in 2021. The Five Star Movement, the biggest party in his coalition, has fractured following the Tuesday resignation from the party of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

Italy is also mandating gas grid operator Snam SpA to increase gas purchases in order to hit storage targets for June after Russia cut flows to Europe last week. Still, Rome is not planning to increase the alert level for gas at the moment.

Italy’s gas storage facilities are about 55% full, according to a statement published Tuesday, in line with the rest of Europe.

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