BUENOS AIRES Nov 23 Argentina's government will
raise long-frozen utility tariffs to fund the expansion of
electricity and natural gas distribution in the energy-hungry
South American country, officials said on Friday.
The energy sector in Latin America's No. 3 economy has been
stretched thin by surging demand and limp private investment,
which many analysts attribute to low government-imposed tariffs
since a 2001-02 financial crisis.
Unveiling the tariff overhaul, Deputy Economy Minister Axel
Kicillof said hefty state subsidies mean Argentine consumers pay
much less for electricity than in neighboring countries.
"(We want to) create a fund that's sufficiently large to
sustain not only the maintenance of the supply networks, but
also the demand created by the accumulation of capital in
Argentina," he told a news conference, referring to years of
brisk economic growth and rising salaries.
A tariff increase has long been demanded by Argentine
utility companies such as Edenor and Edesur, which is
controlled by Endesa, a subsidiary of Italy's biggest