Julio de Vido,
Argentine Minister
of Planning
 
Buenos Aires, Argentina --- (METERING.COM) --- October 3, 2008 - Power distributors in Argentina have been requested to present new rates plans, suggesting that the government may allow rates to rise again in the near future.

Rates were last increased at the end of July, retroactively to the start of the month, for the country’s top three distributors – Edenor, Edesur and Edelap – for the first time in almost seven years, and a further increase appears to be in prospect in February 2009.

In a resolution posted by the electricity regulator, ENRE, the three companies are directed to submit new rates plans by December 12.

With their plans the distributors must submit details of their proposed investments and operation, maintenance, commercialization and other service costs during the next tariff period. In addition they are required to provide information on the projected demand, quality of service, environmental planning, and load curve measurement.

The distributors must also comply – or face penalties – with a whole new raft of quality measures, from a reduction in the frequency and duration of interruptions and improvement in voltage stability to improvements in customer service, time for new connections, and billing procedures. For example there must be an adequate number of customer service centers throughout each distributor’s concession area, and they must be such as to permit personalized attention, and staff must be trained to provide the correct advice. All bills must be based on actual readings, except in cases of “force majeur” and the number of estimated bills must not exceed 1 percent in any tariff category.

The new rates hold the prospect of new investments in Argentina’s energy sector, which has seen annual increases in demand around 6 percent. When minister of planning Julio de Vido announced the new rates in July he said they would contribute towards both a cut in subsidies as well as a planned Ar$6 billion (US$2 billion) investment in the sector over the next 10 years.

Locally owned Edenor, Endesa company Edesur and AES’s Edelap together provide electricity to more than 5 million customers in and around Buenos Aires.