“Not only we need to deal with the rate hikes, we must also discuss the issues of substance”, said José Rigane, Secretary General of FeTERA and Deputy Secretary General of the CTA Autónoma, in an interview with “FM De la Calle” radio station. He explained that these “substantial issues to discuss have to do with the energy system implemented in Argentina during the privatization process, which meant a step back in the management of our energy resources, especially because of the process of selling national companies to foreign hands.”
“If we wish to change this situation we have to modify the energy model, because there is where the problem lies. This model sees energy as a commodity, as if it was a pack of noodles that you just go and get from the supermarket according to your economic power, or the brand you like. Energy is a natural monopoly, because you only have one energy supply line, one gas supply line, you don’t really have a choice, there’s no market, no competence,” Rigane continued.
“You don’t grow energy,” he emphasized, “it is a social good which belongs to all Argentines. It shouldn’t be for free, but it must definitely be a public service and have an accessible price for everyone to live a decent life, because without access to gas, water and electricity there are no prospects of a decent life.”
“We should stop exporting crude oil. We are not an oil country. We are a country which has oil, and oil is finite, like gas. We should first supply our domestic market and develop technology, refineries, distilleries, in order to obtain the special fuels we are buying from other countries,” he pointed out.
As for the government call for bids for the generation of renewable energy –which for the town of Bahia Blanca would mean the creation of wind farms-, Rigane said it would be for business because “the proposal is to open the door to the main companies, especially American companies, who work on this,” and warned that “Argentina needs a diversification of its energy matrix because we depend too much on hydrocarbons.”
“We have lost our capacity to be self-sufficient, which is why we are currently importing 40 ships of liquefied gas, which is later transformed into frozen gas and then into natural gas. In a sense, we need this, so we don’t rely so much on fossil fuels,” Rigane stressed, but he also clarified that this policy however, will not guarantee full energy supply. “It will be a contribution,” he said, “but we need to develop hydroelectric power plants and nuclear power plants both of which produce clean, non-polluting energy and could also help us reduce oil and gas dependency.”
Listen to the full interview below [in Spanish]: