Last Thursday, through a decree, the Government reported that a registry would be opened so that users of gas and electricity services, with incomes of less than $350,000 per family group, can register and request to maintain energy subsidies. . The page where you can do the procedure is now available on the web, but it is not yet enabled for registrations.
Although initially it had been indicated that the website would start operating this week, consulted official sources assured that the registry will be enabled “soon”, without other details. Meanwhile, the deadlines for registration and for the implementation of the segmentation will be informed once the registration is opened.
In her usual press conference, presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti ruled out a general increase in the upcoming August bills. “Until the rate segmentation is implemented, they will follow the rates that are in force now. Implementation is being worked on and registration will be a very simple procedure through My Argentina. Once the corresponding crossings are made, the new segmentation will be implemented”, said Cerruti.
And then, consulted about the term that the entire process will demand, she pointed out that it will be around three months between the announcement and the implementation.
From the companies in the sector they assured that they have not yet received official communication on how and from when the new scheme of segmented rates and gradual removal of subsidies should be implemented. “They are waiting for the publication of the resolutions to act in accordance with what the enforcement authority says,” explained a source close to the companies.
Without further details, they estimate that in the case of electricity, the process would follow these steps: the user registers, the regulatory body informs each distributor, the Secretary of Energy sanctions the prices for each category, the distributor invoices according to the categories of users and then informs the wholesale electricity company of the number of users and consumption according to the categories so that they are charged for the energy.
But, in addition, they warn that segmentation cannot be implemented until the corresponding rate charts are published. In this way, the official idea that the segmentation is in force from June and that then the removal of subsidies is gradual in a period of six months (divided into three bimonthly tranches) and that users with more income pay the full rate is delayed. in December.
“It is a great unknown. Until the rate charts are published. We do not see that there is any step taken towards the effective realization of this segmentation process”, they added.
To carry out the segmentation of the subsidies, three groups of users were defined, according to their income levels.
What are the main doubts among users who must carry out the procedure?
– Who has to register in the registry
All users who want to keep the subsidies they receive today in their homes must register. This includes retirees, tenants, pensioners and beneficiaries of social programs such as the Universal Child Allowance, Progresar and Empower Work. The procedure is not yet enabled but it will be possible online at www.argentina.gob.ar/subsidios or at the Anses offices in person. Interested parties must submit an affidavit.
– How tenants have to carry out the process
In the registration you have to indicate that you are not the owners of the service. “Even if you are not the owner of your home, you will receive the subsidy as a user of the services,” it was detailed on the official website.
In order to grant the subsidy to tenants, through the segmentation decree, the figure of “residential user of the service” was created. This is the case of the user who does not coincide with the owner registered in the distribution companies, but who actually uses the service.
The tenant associations raised some doubts: what will happen to buildings that have only one meter because they are not declared, will they require the presentation of a “blank” rental contract (many tenants do not have a contract) and what happens when the tenant changes address.
The tenants have to indicate that they are not the holders of the service.
– What will happen to users who already have the cold zone benefit
In August of last year, Law 27,637 was regulated, which expanded the universe of beneficiaries of the Cold Zone Regime (RZF), which reaches some 4 million users of gas service throughout the country (more than 60 localities of 11 provinces). The rule reduces rates by about 50% for beneficiaries of social plans (such as AUH), retirees of up to 4 minimum wages, social monotributistas and employees of private homes, among others. For the rest of the users, a reduction of 30% was established.
In the event that it corresponds to the level of income, the users of these zones will lose the subsidies but not the benefit of the reduction for the cold zone, according to reports. However, there was no confirmation from official sources.
– What information must be submitted in order not to lose the subsidy
So far, it has only been specified that users must submit an affidavit that will be available in digital format. And the information that is presented must contemplate the income and properties of the entire family group, not only of the owner of the service.
From the consumer associations they warned that the affidavits are not a simple load of data, and that incorrect information can be considered as falsification of public documents. These declarations will then be checked against information from different State agencies.
“The registry is a success, although it is difficult to implement. It has to meet two conditions. One, that the affidavit be of immediate effect. And two, that it be operational quickly, before the bills arrive,” said Claudio Boada, director of the Union of Users and Consumers. “In other registries where sworn statements are presented, then an environmental report is made, of the family group. An affidavit is not to be joked about,” he warned.
“Regarding the data to request, many are already included in the letter of the resolution itself, both for the inclusion criteria in Level 2 (lower income) as well as the inclusion of beneficiaries of social programs, which are the data with which the State already has. In certain cases, the nuance occurs at the limit between the highest income level and the middle sectors. Owning a property in a geographical area whose square meter is more expensive is not the same as owning a property in a humbler residential area. There it is also important to focus and not assimilate middle class and upper class families, affecting them in the same proportion”, added Paula Soldi, director of the Center for Studies for the Promotion of Equality and Solidarity (Cepis).
The page to enter the registry is not yet available
– Who will stop receiving subsidies
Users who declare total monthly household income for an amount greater than the equivalent of 3.5 type 2 basic baskets according to INDEC. Or that they meet some of these conditions: have three or more vehicles less than 5 years old, three or more properties, a boat or aircraft or be the owner of corporate assets that show full economic capacity.
– Is the income limit taken for subsidy removal modified every month?
The decree that implemented the segmentation for users of natural gas and electricity services provides for the removal of subsidies for holders whose family group declares net monthly income greater than 3.5 Total Basic Baskets (CBT) for a household 2, according to INDEC. That number today equals $333,410. However, on the official website, the Government already takes an updated value and details that the removal of subsidies will be for incomes greater than $350,000.
The question is whether the amount from which the subsidies are lost will then begin to be updated every month, at the rate of the monthly measurement carried out by the Indec, and whether the users, if they fall below that limit at some point of the year they will be able to request the subsidy again.
“The parameter of the family group is taken. Due to inflation, people today need two or more jobs. An average salary is $100,000 or $120,000, which means that 60% of users fall within the income limit required to lose subsidies,” said Osvaldo Bassano, from the Association for the Defense of Users and Consumers (Adduc).