By José Rigane*
Macri’s government and Minister of Energy Juan José Aranguren (former Shell CEO) have taken actions to increase large oil companies’ profits. In 2016 and 2017, these companies have been favored, despite electoral promises, with direct subsidies of 59 billion pesos, in addition to the millions that come from the direct transference of resources from residential users (the people) towards oil companies through constant rate hikes.
Let’s pay attention to some data of Macri’s energy model. On the one hand: they keep the policy of subsidies, where about 10 large gas extraction companies received 59 billion pesos during 2016 and the first half of 2017 (according to Tiempo Argentino, August 5, 2017 ). At this rate, it is expected that by the end of 2017 it will reach 40 billion pesos in a year, in order to match the figure of 2016.
At the same time, as a result of the super rate hikes, the electricity bills users pay are coming and will continue to come with an increase of 1,400% ( Tiempo Argentino, August 5, 2017 ).
The 11% drop in electricity consumption by residential users in 2017 compared to 2016 (Página/12, July 25, 2017) are proof of this, beyond the fact that we are facing a slightly warmer winter than in 2016. In short, residential users (the workers), have really felt the price increases in their pockets and have therefore modified their consumption.
The Macri administration equals the deepening of a model that sees energy as a commodity and we will have to start looking more closely at the rates of energy poverty and energy itself as a luxury good. This has been expressed before by the Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren, who has said things like: “if you do not have money, do not consume”, which also means, “if you do not have money, die of cold or of heat.”
*José Rigane | Deputy Secretary of the CTA Autónoma, General Secretary of FeTERA and of the Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata Union.