Expensive invoices, boom in requests (+150%) to pay installments without interest. Repayment plans and savings advice
Bill increases bring businesses and families to their knees. “We know this and we are acting to defer and pay the bills in installments, also activating relief initiatives in the region for disadvantaged families even beyond the aid already put in place by the government, 8 billion on increases that will will probably amount to 35 billion – he explains Philippe Boraso, de Rovigo, 47 years old, general manager of Ascotrade, company controlled by EstEnergy (Hera with 52%, Ascopiave with 48%), turnover of 750 million and around 650,000 customers between Veneto and Lombardy, in particular families and small businesses, who met the associations on Thursday of consumers from Veneto – but I want to emphasize that these increases do not benefit sales companies like ours: producing countries like Russia and Algeria are the winners”.
Director, meanwhile, one of your predictions: will the energy increases continue or have we peaked?
“At such times, it is difficult to think of a rapid decline: the rise in prices is linked to the rise in gas which then leads to that of electricity. A global phenomenon. 40% of European needs come from Russia, with the current high tensions it is difficult to imagine a reduction in the short term. And then there are the structural problems of the market. We could use strategic gas reserves to keep prices low. Another short-term intervention is to increase imports from the Tap pipeline to diversify supplies. Fortunately, the winter is mild and the first signs of falling wholesale energy prices are already being felt. For families, from April, there could be a decrease in the cost of bills”.
Russian President Putin said a few days ago that Europe’s gas supply has been at fixed prices for some time, so today’s increases are not Moscow’s fault…
“The long-term contracts that Putin refers to are indexed to the price of the European stock market, so they suffer from the increases that have occurred in the market. In these contracts, only the guarantee of supply for many years is defined. The overwhelming majority of operators like us traders are feeling the effect of these sharp increases. And the credit problem exploded dramatically”.
People can’t pay their bills?
“In January, we managed an increase of about 150% in the demand for payment of bills in installments compared to the same month of 2021: from 1094 extensions to 2666. And the same surge occurred in December. We are now trying to increase support for our customers in this emergency and we have an installment plan that can reach 10 months on 50% of the costs. And in case of invoices over a thousand euros, we allow families to pay a third immediately and the rest in 10-12 months. Remember that the installments are completely interest-free. In addition, there is the social bonus which is activated automatically with the presentation of ISEE to INPS and a specific initiative of Ascotrade which started in 2010 called Family Discount. We have also activated protocols with certain municipalities to avoid the interruption of supplies: we will not leave people in the cold”.
And for businesses?
“We are available to deal with particularly difficult situations on a case-by-case basis with dedicated reimbursement plans, as we have done in the past. Unfortunately, companies have seen increases of up to 500% between December and January”.
“They limited the increase in bills to 35-40% of the value. Today, around 70% of gas expenditure relates to raw materials, 17% to taxes and the rest to transport costs. Previously, only 40% referred to the raw material”.
How can families save themselves from this hard blow?
“A careful behavior in consumption helps to contain the costs of the bills: one degree less temperature in the house leads to a saving of 7%. So consume energy at night rather than during the day. And users are getting ready: the request for quotes to install photovoltaic systems has increased sharply, they can take advantage of tax deductions of 50% with the Ecobus that we are activating immediately with a discount on the invoice”.