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Electricity price hike follows construction delay

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The upcoming increase in the electricity tariff that is expected to be applied to customers who consume more than 300-kilowatt hours will be announced in a public forum on  Thursday, July 6.

The increase is put down to the delay in completing the third transmission line of the Electric Transmission Company, (Etesa).

The project, which started in 2014 and not in 2009, as established by the electric expansion plan, will end up costing close to $380 million, about $146.2 million 38% more than the original price of $233.8 million awarded to Odebrecht in 2013 for $ 233.8 million. Odebrecht has been the construction darling of three successive governments and has been the center of corruption scandals across Latin America.

Thes additional costs have to do, to a large extent, with extra money that has had to be paid to generation companies that could not transport energy to the consumption centers without a third line.

Investments in electricity transmission and distribution works, as is the case with the third line, are finally assumed by the clients in the payment of the tariff. The State tries to ease the effect of the hike through the disbursement of subsidies.

It is estimated that in the second semester the State will end up paying $40 million in subsidies for customers who consume less than 300-kilowatt hours a month, while are those who use above that  range, will have an increase, details of which will be announced Thursday  by the National Services Authority

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/electricity-price-hike-follows-construction-delay

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Protest is staged against rise in electricity pricing in Panama

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 15:39

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A group of people protested today before the headquarters of the Public Services Authority (Asep) of Panama against the increase in the electricity pricing decreed for the second half of this 2018, considering it a consequence of the bad management of the public entity.

The Asep informed last week that the electricity price will increase by 8.4 percent for 24.5 percent of users, that is, for those who consume more than 300 kilowatts per hour.

"This adjustment is mainly motivated by the new transmission rate that incorporates the Third Transmission Line and by the normal adjustments associated with generation costs," said Asep.

The protesters stressed the increase is due to delays in the construction of the transmission line and considered inadmissible to punish the users for this bad administrative management.

"With this increase everything becomes more expensive," one of the protesters told reporters, adding that the Panamanian family economy cannot take it anymore, noting that adjustments are being announced to monthly payments in private schools for next school year, including other increases.

The peaceful protest was backed by drivers passing by, who honked their horns and shouted slogans against the electricity pricing increase.

"At the end of the road, it affects the quality of life of the Panamanian. If there is a new increase (of electricity) we will have a generalized increase in the cost of living (...) the people cannot stand a further increase," said the activist and one of the protesters, Paulette Thomas.

The upward adjustment of electricity trafficking has also been rejected by business sectors such as the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP), which expressed its condemnation that consumers "pay for irresponsibility and lack of timely decisions by different government administrations".

"The latest increase in the electricity pricing, justified by the timely non-execution of plans related to the third transmission line, confirms the erratic nature of Panama's energy policy," CCIAP president Gabriel Barletta said in a public statement.

He mentioned "although it is stated that the increase will only reach a consumer sector, the reality shows that these increases impact production and marketing costs, which ends up imposing collateral effects on final prices of products and services."

The union that brings together more than 1,600 companies from 15 economic sectors said that given the situation of the electricity market in Panama it has insisted "on the need to comply, with a long-term vision and sustainability, the expansion plan with the component of diversifying the energy matrix through sources that increasingly break the country's dependence on oil."

"In that direction, it is urgent to execute the project of the fourth transmission line before the projections estimated for its need are overflowed as it happened on this occasion," said the CCIAP.

According to official data, 60 percent of the electricity consumed in Panama in 2016 came from hydroelectric power, 32 percent from thermal, 7 percent from wind, and 1 percent from self-generation power. EFE

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/protest-staged-against-rise-electricity-pricing-panama-7285

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11 hours ago, Moderator_02 said:

...a consequence of the bad management of the public entity

That may be the problem or reason for this increase? It seems to me the reliability of electrical service needs to occur before this organization even considers raising their rates. Right now the reasoning is just pay me more money for bad service!

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Hike in Electricity Rates Rejected

In Panama, the union of private companies has expressed their opposition to the latest increase in electricity rates, arguing that companies and consumers should not have to pay for the "irresponsibility of government administrations."

Monday, July 9, 2018

From a statement issued by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP):

CCIAP: Consumers should not pay for irresponsibility of government administrations. 

Panama, July 8, 2018. The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) categorically rejects [the idea] that electricity consumers pay for the irresponsibility and lack of timely decisions made by different government administrations.

"The latest increase in the electricity tariff, justified by the non-timely execution of plans related to the third transmission line, confirms the erratic nature of Panama's energy policy," said Gabriel Barletta, president of the CCIAP. "Although it is has been stated that the increase will only reach one consumer sector, the reality shows that these increases impact production and commercialization costs, which ends up imposing collateral effects on final prices of products and services," he said.

In view of this situation, the CCIAP has repeatedly insisted on the need to fulfill, with a long-term vision and of a sustainable nature, the electric expansion plan with the component of diversifying the energy matrix through sources that break the country's every increasing dependency on oil. "In that direction, it is urgent to execute the project of the fourth transmission line, before the projections estimated for its necessity are overflowed, as it happened on this occasion. Meanwhile, ETESA must be strengthened in order for the company to compete efficiently in the electricity market," said the president of the CCIAP.

 

https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/Hike_in_Electricity_Rates_Rejected

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Yeah!  I agree with the CCIAP. Certainly hope they push their opinion re no increase in electricity rates.

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Demonstrations in Panama City got out of hand today with masked protesters blocking the Transistmica (a major thoroughfare), burning tires, vandalizing at least one Metrobus, and pitching rocks at the Police.

 

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Protests against power price hike block roads

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The Transistmica highway was closed on Tuesday, July 10 for over four hours as protestors demonstrated against the recently  announced increase in electricity prices, forecast to quickly raise the cost of living as businesses  pass on the increase.

Boxes and tires were burned near the main entrance to the university  The road was closed from noon and was reopened past 4:10 p.m. Traffic jams developed in many sectors, well ahead of the usual rush hour

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/protests-against-power-price-hike-block-roads

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We have been back here in Boquete 1 week from a fact-finding mission in Medellin. Our power has gone off 5 times. ( Granted no more than 10 minutes) We have had to reboot our internet modem twice. ( Cable Onda) and now there is no water coming in due to another broken pipe. Thankfully we have a huge backup tank. How could you live here and not have one?

We have been in and out of Panama since 2004. We do not see the infrastructure changes that are accruing in other countries that should be here. Especially with all the money that is being generated by the Panama Canal. Now they want to raise the electricity prices? Can't blame the Panamians for protesting about that! This is not a complaint just an observation. There is a lot to like about living here. But not forever! With the condition of the roads, lack of efficient police protection, increase in utility cost it's a wonder the Panamanians are not protesting in the streets in larger numbers.

We, as expats can afford the extra cost. ( And the inconveniences)  It's the Panamanian people that are getting the short end of the stick.

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Goodness, what a homecoming experience. ?

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Teachers call for strike against electric increase and for more budget in Panama

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 21:25

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Teachers' associations in Panama called today for a 24-hour national strike for July 16 to protest the rise in the electricity bill and to demand more budget for public education.

The leader Humberto Quintero argued before the journalists that the educative unions are "convinced that the rise" of the cost of the electricity announced for this second semester of the year "is going to affect the poorest and most vulnerable sectors" of the country.

"We do not rule out the speculation and abuses of the productive sectors hiding in said increase and in the alleged loss that it will cause them making their services rise disproportionately and without control," he added.

Quintero declared that "the people can not pay for the irresponsibility of the governments and of this government (of Juan Carlos Varela), which was not able to prevent this economic disaster."

The trade union representatives also called on teachers from all over the country to demonstrate next Monday afternoon in front of the Parliament building demanding the deputies not to accept the increase in the electricity bill.

The 24-hour strike called for next Monday by the National Union of Educators of Panama (Unep) and the National Union of Educators for the Quality of Panamanian Education (Unecep) will serve to re-demand the Government to raise up to 6 per percent of gross domestic product (GDP) budget for education, spokesmen said.

According to official data for 2017, the budget for the education sector that year was 4.6 percent of GDP.

The Panamanian Public Services Authority (Asep) informed last week that the electricity bill will increase by 8.4 percent for 24.5 percent of users, that is, for those who consume more than 300
kilowatts hour.

"This adjustment is mainly motivated by the new transmission rate that incorporates the Third Transmission Line and by the normal adjustments associated with generation costs," said Asep.

The rate increase has caused several protests in the capital during this week, which have included the temporary blockade on Wednesday of a major arterial road in the capital by students of the state University of Panama who were evicted by the police, without registrating incidents.

The vice president and foreign minister of Panama, Isabel De Saint Malo, stressed on her Twitter account on Wednesday that the adjustment of the electricity bill does not apply to more than 75 percent of the users of the service.

"Since education is so important, I do not understand the strike announced due to the rise in energy, surely teachers' homes are not among those with the highest turnover. Remember that 75% of clients will continue to be subsidized. I appeal to teachers' commitment to education," De Saint Malo wrote on her Twitter account.

The vice president also noted the need to "be more rational with energy use", which will result not only in the monthly bill to be paid but in the "environmental sustainability".

"It is common to find offices and businesses where the temperature is low. With a small temperature adjustment, we would contribute to sustainability and avoid increases", recommended the Panamanian vice president.

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/teachers-call-strike-against-electric-increase-and-more-budget-panama-7301

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Most of the protests and complaints about the rate increase have to do with perceived mismanagement of the construction of the country's third main electrical distribution line.

Clients consuming less than 300 kwh per month are exempt from the increases. We average just in excess of that amount. Shouldn't be hard to make a slight downward adjustment.

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Business, labor, NGOs fight power hike

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Universities, business associations, trade unionists, and NGOs are united in Panama,  in their disagreement over the increase in the electricity tariff, and more demonstrations were planned for Tuesday.

elec-demo.jpgAmong the disparate organizations who have called the price hike “unfair” are the  Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects (SPIA), the Private Business Council  (Conep) and the National Council of Organized Workers (Conato).

The Conep anticipates that the increase will affect the production and commercialization costs of companies, so the decision will impact prices of products and services.

Conato announced that it  will hold a demonstration at the headquarters of the National Association of Public Services on Wednesday

Nelva Reyes, of Conato, said that the increase will hit the already fragile economy of the country.

Previously, there have  been  organized blackouts and accompanied by pot banging in districts like  San Francisco, Betania, and Pueblo Nuevo,

The Engineers and Architects Society issued a statement on Tuesday, calling the rate hike “unjustified” and “could have traces of illegality”.

Gustavo Bernal, president of the society, said that according to SPIA analyzes of electrical generation in the country, the tariff should have decreased and, in the worst case, remain the same.

The Panamanian Broadcasting Association announced that it is “unacceptable” that the consumer is punished again with the adjustment. It stressed that the subsidized population is supposed to believe that it will not be affected by the increase when inevitably it will be transferred to consumers through increased prices.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/business-labor-academics-fight-power-hike

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OPINION: Paying double for government ineptitude

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The increase of approximately 8% in the electricity tariff, for a quarter of Panamanian consumers, has caused widespread annoyance and disgust. The causes of the increase are well known, and it is clear that the responsibility for the delay and mismanagement of the third line of electrical interconnection lies with the previous government.

However, the current administration has not made any effort at austerity or frugality in the use of public funds. On the other hand, we cannot forget the generous funds of the National Assembly and other wastes of millions of tax dollars paid mainly by the middle class. There is a lot of cloth to cut and thus avoiding the increase to the consumers and the surcharge of costs to business. This means that Panamanians pay twice for the increase.

Another brushstroke on the vast canvas of ineptitude and irresponsibility of governments, which pass on the bills of their errors and acts of corruption to the citizens, who pay their salaries …LA PRENSA, Jul. 11

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/features/media-watch/opinion-paying-double-for-government-ineptitude

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2 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

Most of the protests and complaints about the rate increase have to do with perceived mismanagement of the construction of the country's third main electrical distribution line.

Clients consuming less than 300 kwh per month are exempt from the increases. We average just in excess of that amount. Shouldn't be hard to make a slight downward adjustment.

I don’t believe in awarding bad behavior, i.e., poor service. Perhaps asking for a rate increase after providing consistent, reliable electrical power would meet approval from customers.

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1 hour ago, Marcelyn said:

I don’t believe in awarding bad behavior, i.e., poor service. Perhaps asking for a rate increase after providing consistent, reliable electrical power would meet approval from customers.

You would think that would be the appropriate way to proceed.

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Teachers are urged not to affect educational activity in Panama with strike

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:17

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The Ministry of Education of Panama (Meduca) acknowledged today that teachers can speak on national issues but without affecting the educational activity in the country, concerning the strike convened for Monday by educators against the electricity pricing increase and for more budget.

"We believe that teachers are in their right to express their opinion on national issues, without affecting the fundamental right to education of our children and youth," says a Meduca statement.

Because of this, the Ministry of Education warned that next Monday "is a regular day of classes and teachers are required to remain in their schools and parents to send their children to school."

Teachers' associations in Panama today convened a 24-hour national strike for July 16 to protest the rise in electricity pricing and to demand more budget for public education.

The trade union representatives also called on teachers from all over the country to demonstrate next Monday afternoon in front of the Parliament building to demand that the deputies not accept the increase in electricity pricing.

The 24-hour strike convened for next Monday by the National Union of Educators of Panama (Unep) and the National Union of Educators for the Quality of Panamanian Education (Unecep) will serve to re-demand the Government to raise up to 6 per percent the gross domestic product (GDP) budget for education, spokespeople said.

According to official data for 2017, the budget for the education sector that year was 4.6 percent of GDP.

The National Authority of Public Services (Asep) of Panama reported last week that the electricity pricing will increase 8.4 percent for 24.5 percent of users, that is, for those who consume more than 300 kilowatt hours.

The Ministry of Education reported that it is currently in the process of international evaluation of the PISA (Program for the International Assessment of Students) "which is of utmost importance for Panama".

Thus, according to the Meduca, "this is an international commitment that should not be affected under any circumstances because it is the image of the country before the academic community worldwide and cannot reprogram the schedule of application."

The tests for the PISA report are conducted every three years and are administered for 15-year-old students from all countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other partners.

Panama participated in the PISA test in 2009, but after ranking position 62 of 65 countries, Meduca decided that students would not do it in the next edition of 2012 and 2015.

The test is focused on mastering of the processes, the understanding of concepts and the ability to act or function in various situations within each of the three areas cited.

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/teachers-are-urged-not-affect-educational-activity-panama-strike-7306

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Panamanian producers reject electricity price rise and ask to be suspended

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 18:44

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Poultry producers in Panama today expressed their "categorical" and "absolute" rejection of the electricity price increase, decreed for the second semester of 2018, which has provoked protests for three consecutive day, and urged President Juan Carlos Varela to suspend it "immediately".

The National Association of Poultry Farmers of Panama (Anavip) said in a public statement that the price adjustment, which affects 24.5 percent of users, impacts "directly and negatively" customers whose monthly consumption exceeds 301 kilowatt hours, including the entire productive sector of the country and activities such as poultry farming.

They considered "unacceptable and unfair" that consumers of electricity "pay for the irresponsibility and lack of timely administrative decisions" of public officials in charge of making the investments required for the proper functioning of the country's power generation and distribution plant.

They stressed that the poultry sector has developed a modernization  process and investment in technology that demands and depends on the consumption of electricity, so this electricity price increase  "would significantly impact the activity".

The Anavip recalled that this industry is in solidarity with its consumers and collaborates with the price control promoted by the Government, "making all possible sacrifices, so we cannot accept the measure adopted by the National Authority of Public Services (Asep) to punish national production".

"The increase in the electricity price increases all the costs of production processes in the agricultural sector and therefore the final product that in many cases will be reflected in the pockets of the entire Panamanian population, which will directly or indirectly be affected by this increase," said poultry farmers.Because of this, they urged President Varela to "immediately suspend" the measure adopted by the ASEP and promote a broad consultation process, in order to seek alternatives that do not affect the population or the productive sector "that does not resist a further increase in their family economy or in their production costs".

The Asep reported last week that the electricity price will rise by 8.4 percent for 24.5 percent of users, that is, for those who consume more than 300 kilowatt hours.

Varela said Monday that the rise is due mainly to the behavior of the international energy market and that he understood the annoyance of the affected users, but that the State did not have room to maneuver to absorb the adjustment.

"I understand the population (because) nobody likes a rise in electricity price," said Varela, adding that "it is difficult to get the tax space for the State to assume the increase" in response to the demand of users that the adjustment is suspended.

The "electric price rise" has generated several protests that have been repeated today for the third consecutive day, one of them staged in front of the headquarters of the state Electricity Transmission Company (Etesa) and also by some students of the state University of Panama that again blocked the important Transístmica road in front of the Campus.

Anti-riot forces repelled the students, who took refuge inside the university campus, from where they threw stones and other blunt objects at the police.

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panamanian-producers-reject-electricity-price-rise-and-ask-be-suspended-7309

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Poultry producers ask Varela to void power price hike

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Panama poultry producers have issued a  “categorical” and “absolute” refusal to  accept  the electricity price hike, that has provoked protests for three consecutive days, and  they have called on President Juan Carlos Varela to “immediately.” suspend the proposed

The National Association of Poultry Farmers of Panama (Anavip) said in a public statement that the tariff adjustment, which affects 24.5% of users, impacts “directly and negatively” customers whose monthly consumption exceeds 301-kilowatt hours, among which is the entire productive sector of the country and activities such as poultry farming.

They considered “unacceptable and unfair” that consumers of electricity “pay for the irresponsibility and lack of timely administrative decisions” of public officials in charge of making the investments required for the proper functioning of the country’s power generation and distribution plant.

They stressed that the poultry sector has developed a process of modernization and investment in technology that demands and depends on the consumption of electricity, so this increase in the electricity tariff “would significantly impact” the activity. ”

The Anavip recalled that the industry is in solidarity with its consumers and collaborates with the price control promoted by the Government, “making all possible sacrifices, so we cannot accept the measure adopted by the National Authority of Public Services (Asep) to punish national production. ”

“The increase in the electricity tariff increases all the costs of production processes in the agricultural sector and therefore the final product that in many cases will be reflected in the pockets of the entire Panamanian population, which will directly or indirectly affect all citizens

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/poultry-producers-ask-varela-to-void-power-price-hike

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Electricity protests escalate, teachers call strike

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As  rising anger over the increase in electricity prices continues to spread through all sectors of Panamanian society from business organizations,  NGO’s, and civic groups to labor unions, street demonstrations entered their third day on Thursday, July 12.

riot-police-1.jpgRiot police used tear gas to dispersePanama University professors, administrative staff and students in Panama City on Wednesday, July 11. University authorities repudiated the action of the Police in placing a padlock on the main gate of the University. The same day, The National Association of Teachers (Asoprof)  called for a nationwide 24-hour  “warning”  strike on  Monday, July 16.

Diógenes Sánchez, general secretary of the Asoprof, said that This stoppage seeks to “avoid” the increase in the cost of electric energy electricity, announced by the Public   Services Authority (ASEP), widely predicted to harm the country’s economy and increase prices for consumers.

He indicated that the measure is supported by some 14  teacher organizations. That day, on they will concentrate on the National Assembly starting at 2:00 p.m. “The problem is that this increase will affect everyone … we are all going to bear this increase”, he said.

Education minister Marcela Paredes called on teachers not to affect classes.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/electricity-protests-escalate-teachers-call-strike

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Watching how fervently the Panamanian people express their disapproval of this proposed electricity rate hike is admirable and makes me proud of the public's interest and involvement in issues that really affect them.

Let's just hope their activities will be peaceful.

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Deputy proposes to prohibit planned electricity price rise in Panama

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 17:12

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The opposition deputy Miguel Fanovich introduced before the unicameral Parliament of Panama a bill that proposes to prohibit the increase in the electricity price announced last week by the state-owned company of the sector, reported today the Legislative Branch.

"The deputy said that 274,000 customers in the country will be affected with an increase in prices starting next December, and that the Chamber of Commerce and Industries rejected that users have to pay for irresponsibility and lack of timely decisions by the government administrations," said a statement from the Legislative.

The 71-seat parliament is largely dominated by opponents of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD-26) and Cambio Democrático (CD-24). Fanovich belongs to the minority Molirena.

The Public Services Authority (Asep) of Panama informed last week that the electricity price will increase by 8.4 percent for 24.5 percent of users, that is, for those who consume more than 300 kilowatts hour.

"This adjustment is mainly motivated by the new transmission rate that incorporates the Third Transmission Line and by the normal adjustments associated with generation costs," said Asep.

The price rise has provoked several public protests in the capital during this week, as well as the rejection pronouncement of business associations and national producers and a call for strike next Monday of the educational unions.

Among the arguments for the rejection of the increase in the price is that it will affect sectors such as small and medium enterprises as well as trade, which will ultimately result in the prices of goods and services, especially affecting the most vulnerable people.

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/deputy-proposes-prohibit-planned-electricity-price-rise-panama-7317

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I suspect President Varela didn’t want this “fight”. Far too many organizations voiced their disagreement with an electrical power rate increase.

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The President says that if the National Assembly agrees to find $60 million in the budget, the increase will be absorbed by the state. 

 

Like that would be hard to do!

He made a wise decision.

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