The skyrocketing costs jeopardize the balance sheets of small businesses that distribute methane and electricity. Thousands of employees and half a million customers involved. Meanwhile, in Germany, the giant Uniper is nationalized: it was one step away from bankruptcy
The skyrocketing price of gas does not only weigh on the bills of households and businesses. And if it is true that the extraordinary increases in energy have filled the coffers of many giants in the sector, there are also those who have ended up on the verge of bankruptcy.
The German giant Uniper passes to the state
This is the case of Uniper, the first Russian methane importer in Germany, which will be nationalized with 8 billion to avoid bankruptcy. The war in Ukraine, with the interruptions of flows from Moscow, have shaken this private giant that is worth 40 percent of the methane used by the Germans. Having to look for alternatives to Russia, Uniper bought gas on the market, with higher costs, but had to continue to resell it at the (lower) rates established in the existing contracts. All this led to a huge hole, a Berlin first aid in the summer, until it was handed over to public hands.
The little ones of energy suffer
In Italy there are no collapses of this magnitude on the horizon, but the alarm for small companies is growing – according to Utilitalia, the Federation that brings together over 400 energy operators. His general manager Giordano Colarullo explains: “We have counted 70 salespeople serving 500,000 customers who are in desperate financial conditions and who risk not being able to serve their customers this winter”.
Gas and light guaranteed even if the operator fails
These are companies that buy gas and electricity and then resell them and, due to the increases, now have little cash in hand. Their suppliers are in short supply or ask for ever greater guarantees on payments. Banks are on the lookout for coverage and, in the meantime, the number of late payers is growing. For some of these companies, the spectrum is closure, a dramatic hypothesis that will not leave users dry anyway: the law, in fact, provides that, in any case, gas and light arrive in the home.