Congratulations: you made it through the week (it’s Friday, in case your pre-feriado revelries have left you in a stupor). And in more good news, you apparently won’t have to pay that 400 percent gas increase to heat your home. Who said winter was so terrible?
A federal court ruling last night annulled the gas increases sanctioned by the nation’s Energy Ministry for the whole country. Obviously, the Macri administration, having instated the increases, isn’t thrilled. According to Infobae, on Monday it will appeal the decision and if that fails, it will take it up with the nation’s Supreme Court on Tuesday.
One by one, provincial courts have been filing injunctions these past few months to shield their jurisdictions from the gas increases. Yesterday, Salta and Jujuy were the latest to join the ranks of provinces refusing to pay. (Any local court can trump the State if it can prove that a measure or policy causes harm to one or more people within its jurisdiction).
Utility bills skyrocketed at the beginning of this year when the Macri administration removed many of the consumer-level subsidies on electricity and gas. Not only did consumer energy prices increase by huge percentages, but they did so at a time when inflation is cutting into purchasing power and the economy is in a recession. In the Patagonian city of Bariloche, gas bills went up by as much as 2,500 percent, leading Mayor Gustavo Genusso to actually tell the city’s residents to not pay their upcoming gas bills back in May.
Faced with nationwide outcry, the Macri administration was forced to admit it’d made “a mistake” raising costs by as much as it had and put 400 percent cap on gas increases for Argentine homes. A 500 percent limit was also introduced for small and medium-sized commercial businesses (PYMEs), shops and hotels.
Argentina’s Energy Ministry declared a nationwide “energy emergency” shortly after President Mauricio Macri assumed office back in December. In fact, faced with gas shortages, the country was forced to begin importing gas from Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay all at the same time for the first time since 1989 last month.