The government today formalised a hike in gas and water prices that will average approximately 300% across the country.
The new rates were confirmed in the Official Gazette today and will come into effect immediately.
Though the new rates will vary according to consumption and location, monthly gas prices for a typical user (around 70% according to Metrogas) will increase from $34 to $131 from April, a rise of 285%.
Households that reduce their consumption by 15% compared to the previous year will benefit from a lower rate. A social tariff will be introduced for low-income households, including pensioners and those receiving benefits.
Standard bi-monthly water rates will rise from $132 to $500, a hike of 279%, though the impact will vary considerably according to location and the type of service in place. Again, there will be a social tariff, though in this case it will be for those who earn less than the equivalent of two minimum incomes (eg basic state pension).
The government estimates that it will save up to US$4bn from the reduction in subsidies, and justified the hikes saying they were essential to make the utilities sustainable and improve the quality of service.
Today’s increases in utilty prices coming on the back of the 100% rise in public transport prices announced yesterday.