Minplan opens subsidy opt-out service

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Argentina's planning and investment ministry Minplan has opened the register for residential users who wish to voluntarily give up utility subsidies, the ministry said in a statement.

This measure forms part of a wider-reaching scheme designed to cut water, gas and electricity subsidies for both residential and commercial users who are not in need of subsidized services.

In the first two hours after the launch of the website and phone line, 400 users had applied to opt out of subsidies, including Minplan minister Julio de Vido and finance minister Amado Boudou.

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On November 16, the government announced a further 3.98bn pesos (US$933mn) in annual utility subsidy cuts in addition to the 600mn pesos announced on November 2.

Of the gas, power and water subsidies to be cut, around 500mn pesos is expected to come from domestic users.

Business sectors including refining, gas processing, biofuels and agrochemicals will see subsidy cuts rolled out from December 1, when 40 of the country's highest grossing companies will have 100% of subsidies cut.

Domestic cuts will initially be introduced in the Puerto Madero and Barrio Parque areas of capital Buenos Aires and in all of the gated communities of the country, affecting some 232,000 customers.

Consumers can opt out of subsidies via this website or at the offices of bodies related to utility regulation.