Argentina’s government on Thursday unveiled its new plan to segment price increases for utilities and public services, one of the nation’s most politically sensitive topics.
The publication of emergency decree 332/2022 updating public service billing nationwide was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti at a press conference.
Utility billing will now come in three brackets. The complete cost of all electricity and gas services without any state subsidies will now have to be paid by the higher-income sectors in the first segment, defined as all personas with net monthly earnings superior to the value of three and a half basic shopping-baskets – i.e. a total of 333,410 pesos for a household of two.
Further criteria for subsidy withdrawal will be "owning three or more cars less than five years old, three or more real-estate properties, one or more aircraft or luxury vessels or being a business partner with full economic capacity," Cerruti detailed.
She added that this segment’s bills will be gradually updated every two months, so that they are paying the complete cost of energy by the end of the year.
"There will be no increase in public service billing for 90 percent of the population throughout the rest of the year," Cerruti added.
The second segment will see their bills increased by up to 40 percent of last year’s wage variation coefficient (CVS, in its Spanish acronym). This sector, defined as those earning less than the equivalent of a basic shopping-basket or 95,260 pesos for a two-person household, will not need to apply for subsidies since they will be automatically registered.
Into this category fall all persons receiving some form of social aid from the state, veterans of the South Atlantic War and all who run registered community soup kitchens.
The third segment of middle-income sectors is in line for increased billing not exceeding 80 percent of last year’s CVS. In order to receive state subsidies they will have to apply in virtual format stating their conditions which will be reviewed by the authorities at the end of the year.
This segment includes owners of two or more real-estate properties and a car up to three years old unless the household includes a registered handicapped person.