The Effetre furnace received the bill for gas supply yesterday: “On Friday I will close ten furnaces, I can’t go on like this”
By Vera Mantengoli
10 November 2021
MURANO. The feared bill has arrived and it is chilling. The increase in the cost of gas for the furnaces is over four times greater than normal, as predicted.
These days the glass businesses and artisans of Murano are experiencing an unprecedented crisis that risks being only the beginning of the darkest period for the island, even worse than the pandemic.
The next step after the closure of the furnaces is laying off the employees. The alarm sounded by Confartigianato several weeks ago is turning out to be dramatically true.
Brothers Cristiano and Ivano Ferro, owners of the Effetre Murano company, show us in black and white the bill received just yesterday: in the month of October the cost is 170,860 Euro for the consumption of 175,725 cubic meters of gas; last June, a month when consumption was essentially the same (164,456 cubic meters) the bill was 39,706 Euro. Clearly an unsustainable cost increase.
Of around sixty companies, a dozen have already closed their furnaces, but it is only the beginning of a steady stream that could lead to the death of Murano glass production.
The Ferro brothers themselves will close ten out of the twelve furnaces they run. Closing a furnace is not like turning off the lights, because extinguishing the fire has an enormous cost in terms of maintenance.
“Everyone knows about the situation” comment the Ferro brothers: “the Venetian parliamentarians have alerted Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti and Minister of Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani. Up to now there have been a lot of words, but the only fact is the bill that just arrived, over four times higher than normal, as they have announced, and the next month will be the same. This situation is worse than the pandemic because during the pandemic we had supplements that helped us survive, but now instead there is nothing coming”.
Ferro is one of the few manufacturers in the world who produces semi-finished product, that is, the material needed by those who work with glass, such as murrine and bacchette. “We have warehoused product to not leave our clients stranded, and I have reserves for two more months, but the future is increasingly uncertain”.
The problem, in addition to the closure of the furnaces that still require maintenance, is that a new wave of layoffs is in the air, but only for employees at companies considered industrial.
The artisan businesses, in fact, after December 31 will no longer have access to any cushion and will be on their own, without help and without any type of supplement. It’s a disaster, given that there are many artisan companies, and behind each business there are the lives of the owner, the employees and their families.
“Anyone who doubted or thought we were just alarmists must think again” said Gianni De Checchi, the secretary of Confartigianato, who first called attention to the problem several weeks ago. “Unfortunately the government is aware of the situation, but has not managed to take the problem in hand, or does not want to create a preferential lane for the island”.
Last Friday De Checci sent a letter to the regional Assessor of Economic Development, Roberto Marcato. “I wrote a proposal to study provisions that call for an special contribution to the liquidity and an incentive to the liquidity of the businesses being taxed by energy costs, taking advantage of the fact that the glass district is recognized by the Veneto Region” concludes De Checchi. “We hope that the Region takes the situation under consideration and responds to us, otherwise an entire island is at risk of closure”.
-Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre