Despite the Energy Saving Plan the Argentine government announced last December, energy consume in Argentina kept growing during the summer.
Between February and March, energy distribution companies declared an increase of over 311 thousand megawatts/hour in consumption. They also stated that users that were 'punished' for their increase in consume doubled the number of those who saved energy in this period (1,32 million against 648 thousand).
Now, after realizing the country will not be able to import more gas from Bolivia, the Argentine government has announced yet another energy plan to prepare for the winter. Its aim, according to an official communicate, is to "ensure the optimization of energetic resources that Argentina counts on, to warrant the total supply of the demand in the productive and individual areas."
Via La Nacion. Picture: president Cristina FernÃ¡ndez with Tierra del Fuego governor Fabiana RÃos, Neuquen governor Jorge Sapag, and Buenos Aires governor Daniel Scioli. Credit: Presidency.The problem is that gas producing companies export too much gas to Chile, leaving the country's own demand unattended or at least with higher prices. Kind of what happens with meat exportation, which now and then raises the price of meat to the roof (and meat is something you can get at a decent price here).
The fix the government found in the agriculture and cattle fields (on top of exporters discontent) has been the implementation of an exportation fee. It was announced yesterday this will be the case for gas exporters too.
"What we pay to import gas (from Bolivia) will be financed with the takings we earn from the exportations (to Chile)," announced Julio de Vido, minister of Federal Planning. "We are also building new distilleries and exporting fuel oil to keep our generation plants," he added during the plan announcement. Another measure that will be taken is to encourage natural gas production with a new 'incentive' for producers, so that the country's reserves are maintained at healthy levels.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tried to ease the mood around the energy crisis saying that the increase in demand is good, as it means the country is growing. "We don't have to get nervous about energy demand. The more energy we need means the country keeps growing, and that Argentines are consuming, producing and exporting."
What seems off about this new focus with 'incentives' and 'retentions' is that it abandons the saving focus. Why not doing this and keep the efforts to make people conscious, even if it didn't work the first time? After all, it takes time to educate consumers.
On the other hand, the energy plan launched in December had implemented Daylight Saving Time in Argentina after 14 years of not changing the hour. The fact that consume grew makes us think about the discussion that has been taking place in TreeHugger during the last days, about how effective DST is and how the focus should be more in making the time to be 'weather effective' than 'light effective'.