The government has outlined a new programme for gas price increases as it prepares to hold public audiences over the removal of energy subsidies.
Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren told journalists that the new hikes, which the government hopes to implement in October following hearings later this month, will average 203%, taking the average household bill to around $300 a month.
“In a warm month like February or March, some 79% of users will pay less than $250 per month,” said Aranguren, adding that in a winter month, around 37% of users will be below that threshold.
The plan then sees incremental increases every six months until all subsidies on gas tariffs for residential users are eliminated by 2019. In Patagonia, the phased withdrawal of state support will last until 2022.
The new proposal was drawn up in response to the Supreme Court ruling in August that blocked the government’s initial gas price hikes, which led to drastic increases for many residents and sparked a series of noisy protests against the government.
However, in another ruling today, the High Court overruled another injunction that had suspended the hike in electricity tariffs throughout the province of Buenos Aires. The court determined that the blanket injunction imposed by judges in La Plata was illegitimate as the claimants could not be considered representative of all users in the province.
The government says the removal of energy subsidies is essential to encourage investment and boost supply in the sector, while also easing the burden on public finances.