Justice stopped the increase in gas for winter in Tierra del Fuego

Justice stopped the increase in gas for winter in Tierra del Fuego
Justice stopped the increase in gas for winter in Tierra del Fuego

The Federal Justice of Río Grande suspended this Monday the increase in the price of natural gas through the network in Tierra del Fuego for the entire winter. It is a precautionary measure for three months that responds to the protection presented by Governor Gustavo Melella against the increase in the price of gas at the Point of Entry to the Transportation System (PIST), which is the wholesale price, ordered by the Ministry of Energy of the Nation and the National Gas Regulatory Entity (Enargas). The argument of the protection is that the increase in gas rates applied since April does not comply with “the principle of gradualness.” The same thing could happen in Santa Cruz, since Governor Claudio Vidal presented a similar action in court last month.

The measure of the Civil Secretariat No. 2 of the Federal Court of Río Grande, headed by Mariel Borruto, was announced in the midst of a polar wave that affects the entire south of the country and that increases residential gas consumption. The tariff schedule approved for Tierra del Fuego implied an increase in the final gas bill of around 700%.

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The governed Melella stressed on his social networks that “the judicial ruling protects our citizens giving rise to the appeal for protection that we presented with the support of the entire community to stop the excessive increases in gas rates.” “The suspension of the new rate schedules alleviates the economic burden on our families,” he added.

Resolution 41

The government had updated the rates through resolution 41 of the Ministry of Energy, which set the price of gas for April and for the winter (May – September) of the PIST, which is one of the three components of the bills along with transportation and distribution.

In fact, it brought the price of gas for a high-income user (Tier 1) in April to 2.79 dollars per million BTU (US$/MMBTU), three times more than what they paid, which was less than 1 US$/MMBTU. For Level 2 users (low income) it was 0.74 US$/MMBTU and for Level 3 (medium income) it was 1.10 US$/MMBTU (the excess consumption of N3 was in the same range as N1, that is that is, 2.79 US$/MMBTU).

Unlike how it had been done in previous years, with resolution 41 the government had raised the rate for Patagonia in April to the same price as in the rest of the country (between 2.70 and 2.96 US%/MMBTU). On the other hand, the government decided to maintain the Cold Zone regime (up to 50% reduction in rates) in the modifications to the Base Law.

In addition, the Executive Branch had planned to increase the price of gas in winter to bring it to 4.26 US$/MMBTU for Tierra del Fuego (4.50 US$/MMBTU for the majority of the country). This increase was the one that the Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, suspended to try to contain inflation. Now the Federal Justice stopped the first gas increase, which had been in force since April.

Protection

The protection against the tariff policy of the government of Javier Milei in the province of Tierra del Fuego was presented on May 24 and was collective, since it included the government, the State Prosecutor’s Office, organizations and individual users who signed on.. The judicial measure requested “the nullity, unconstitutionality and inapplicability of resolutions 41/2024 of the Secretary of Energy and 122/2024 of Enargas” or “any other act that affects the users and consumers of the public network gas service.” of the Tierra del Fuego tariff subzone.”

Judge Borruto gave rise to the protection and remarked that “the entities referred to must refrain from applying the new rate tables.” It also reported that the distributor Camuzzi Gas del Sur “must refrain from requiring the collection of any sum of money and/or proceed to cut off or suspend the gas supply due to non-payment of the billing issued by the rate tables of resolution 41. /2024 and 122/2024”.

Borruto rejected Governor Melella’s request for protection regarding forcing Camuzzi Gas del Sur to “return or compensate” the increases collected as of April 1.

 
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