BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Monday that the decision to raise gas and electricity rates was made to ensure the continuity of the energy supply.
During a ceremony in Buenos Aires to announce a new credit line for a public housing project, Macri justified the controversial measures taken during the first six months of his administration, responding to last week’s federal court ruling halting utility rate increases.
In response to appeals filed by consumer rights groups against the higher rates, a federal court in La Plata froze the nationwide increase in gas rates on Wednesday, ruling that public hearings were not held before the rate hikes were implemented.
Macri encouraged the public to cut energy consumption and urged Argentines to be “responsible” with electricity use.
“When it’s winter and you are in your home wearing a t-shirt, it means you are consuming more electricity,” Macri said.
The energy crisis is a problem created by former President Cristina Fernandez’s 2007-2015 administration, which did not think energy was important and now Argentina has to import fuel at “very high” prices, Macri said.
Macri is expected to hold a meeting with his Cabinet on Monday to discuss utility rate changes to be introduced to convince the Supreme Court to not halt the gas and electricity rate increases.
In 2016, electricity and gas rates have increased about 400 percent and 500 percent, respectively.