Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren announced increase in natural gas prices for consumers today. (Photo via Télam / Analía Garelli)

The government has confirmed that natural gas prices will be increasing by an average of 32 percent starting Sunday.

Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren said today that while the maximum increase for natural gas consumers will be in the range of 40 percent, the minimum increase will be 28 percent. Users who consume the least will pay see their bill increase the most. Aranguren said that until now, heavy consumers had already had the rates that they pay for natural gas adjusted to a greater extent than light consumers.

He said today that the Energy ministry does not foresee any more increases in order to realign costs and prices after years of subsidies. As such, future increases will be in line with those seen in the cost of transport and distribution. The cost of the natural gas will depend on a combination the exchange rate and the cost of production.

The maximum increase will amount to 40 percent. (Photo via Noticias Argentinas)
The maximum increase will amount to 40 percent. (Photo via Noticias Argentinas)

An increase is scheduled for October of this year, with the minister predicting that it would not be higher than 15 percent. The hikes kicking in this weekend are further to the 45 percent jump that went into effect in December 2017.

Cutting energy subsidies has been one of the government’s central policies; today Aranguren noted that consumers pay for about 85 percent of the cost of natural gas. He added that “in the next four years there will be a surplus in the production of natural gas of 30 to 35 million cubic meters, which will allow consumer prices to fall.”

At the same time, ENARGAS gas regulator said it is studying the possibility of natural gas bills during winter – when consumption goes up, as natural gas is used for heating – to be paid in installments.

The price increases do not apply to Patagonia, which has a special system due to its cold weather conditions.