Italian gas and electricity bills are among the highest in Europe, in part due to the lack of competition and the continued dominance of Enel and Eni (Italys major energy producers). The cost of electricity and gas in Italy rose by 4.6 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively over the last year, pushed up by the fact that gas prices are tied to oil prices, which are now at historic highs. But according to the President of Italys Regulatory Authority for Electricity and Gas, Alessandro Ortis, oil is not the only culprit. For electricity, he lays the blame on para-fiscali, extra tax burdens that have nothing to do with the production, transport and distribution of electricity. It is estimated that 45 per cent of the final price of gas for the average consumer is made up of tax. Family electricity bills are 30 per cent above the European average, reaching 400 per year, compared to a European norm of 285, explains Italian consumer group Federconsumatori. In Italy, the group adds, gas bills generally cost over 900 per year, compared to the EU average of 700.