The Paraguayan government has decided to obtain 100 percent of the corresponding energy from the Yacyretá hydroelectric power station, which means a cut from the share that is normally transferred to Argentina. The neighboring country is reportedly claiming debts of $150 million. “Argentina built Yacyretá, Paraguay owes Argentina many billions of dollars for Yacyretá,” responded Economy Minister Sergio Massa at an event in the city of Posadas, Misiones.
Paraguay accounts for 50 percent of the energy produced by Yacyretá, but typically consumes between 10 and 15 percent and gives the rest to Argentina. Now he will stop it. Part of the additional amount it absorbs is allocated to the domestic market and the rest is sold to Brazil. The energy supplied from Paraguay covers only a very small percentage of Argentina’s daily consumption. Therefore, at least at this point of the year, it is not a supply issue. Página/12 interviewed Energy Ministry spokespersons on the issue, who said they had no comment.
The measure came into force this Monday from 10 a.m., as confirmed by the country’s vice president – who temporarily holds the presidency – Pedro Alliana, in a press conference he held together with the head of the National Energy Administration (ANDE), Félix Fade.
Paraguay President Santiago Peña was asked on CNN en Español on Sunday whether the decision to stop selling energy to Argentina was in retaliation for Argentina’s imposition of tolls on the Paraná waterway in Paraguay. “These are two different topics. We may stop selling our energy to Argentina, but that has nothing to do with collecting tolls. This has to do with overdue debts. “Argentina owes Paraguay almost $150 million,” he replied.
-It is a very bad coincidence, but it responds to a need, because non-payment of these fees prevents it from functioning properly. They are not even able to pay the salaries of the civil servants. Paraguay’s decision is to stop selling to Argentina. Consume locally and send the excess to Brazil, where we charge regular fees. Unfortunately, these are measures we have taken in parallel to resolve two issues we are facing. The waterway issue is a problem for five countries. Not just from Paraguay.
Massa, in turn, complained about energy prices in Argentina and took direct aim at Santiago Peña. “It is very strange that Paraguay demands more energy from us than Brazil. “This is something that I have not yet found anyone who can answer,” the minister said when asked by the portal La Voz de Misiones, adding. “When new governments need to seek legitimacy, they generally start with fighting,” Massa said.
“Argentina built Yacyretá, Paraguay owes Argentina many billions of dollars for Yacyretá,” the minister added. The Yacyretá Dam was built in the 80s and 90s with the exclusive support of the Argentine state. According to the contract, Paraguay was supposed to compensate its part by transferring the energy produced, but has not yet completed this. Although the debt comes from a binational company, the liability is actually between Paraguay and Argentina.
For his part, the head of the National Electricity Administration of Paraguay, Félix Sosa, told the Paraguayan media that part of the energy extracted will be destined for local consumption, as demand has increased due to the high temperatures. “We are not analyzing the financial issue, we must remember that this is a strategic and political decision of the national government to withdraw 100% of the corresponding energy,” said Sosa at the press conference in which he assured Paraguay has “the technical Requirements” for this.