Daniel Hallberg, who runs Ica Hyltebruk, has invested heavily in an energy-efficient machine park. Although he is unprepared, he has a quick answer to the question of how much electricity the store consumes:

- 500,000 KWh, that's SEK 750,000 a year, he says.

The tax rate that Daniel Hallberg pays is almost 70 times higher than that of the company across the railroad track, Stora Enso's paper mill.

- It's awkward. Maybe it could be leveled out a bit, he thinks.

"Compare us with competitors"

Industry companies pay SEK 0.5 per kilowatt hour - a discount that this year costs the government SEK 15.2 billion. This is more than the entire climate budget of SEK 12.5 billion. The paper mill Stora Enso gets the most of all, in 2017 it was about a billion.

- We pay the EU minimum tax. We compare ourselves with competitors, we don't compare to households. This is not a question we reflect on, says Conny Johansson Energy Manager at Stora Enso who shows us the paper mill in Hylte in Småland.

Swedish electricity is largely fossil-free and a transition from fossil fuels to electricity is desirable. But at the same time, reduced energy consumption is often raised as a prerequisite for meeting the climate goals.

When electricity taxes were raised against households and small businesses, that was precisely the purpose.

Want to protect the industry

The same reasoning does not apply to large companies, where there is instead a fear that increased costs should knock out Swedish industry.

It was only a few years ago that 300 people got rid of the job because Stora Enso put down two paper machines.

Cheap electricity protects jobs and competitiveness, but can also contribute to waste of resources. Stora Enso's energy manager Conny Johansson believes that too high electricity prices can be fatal for the mill.

- If it gets too expensive in Sweden, we will close down here, or the investment will end up in the next big machine in another country, he says.

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