Energy Secretary Javier Iguacel yesterday announced his departure from office, exhausted by management, criminally charged and facing Finance Minister Nicás Dujovne. The former official was forced to resign after only one semester at the office, which reached him to announce tariffs in electricity and gas public services and cut social levels. Thursday has confirmed another round of increases for the first part of 2019. His figure was blurred in the government when in October issued a resolution for users to compensate for additional costs in 24 installments to gas distributors for the impact of the megade valuation. In the midst of the scandal, the Government must return and has since been derived from decision making. He will be replaced by Gustavo Lopetegui, former deputy chief of staff and until now one of President Macri's advisers.
His terrible relationship with Dujovne was another chapter which removed him from his post, after the Ministry of Energy was devalued to the Ministry under the Ministry of Finance. The confrontation with Dujovne was deepened by the cuts in subsidies that the government wanted to implement in Vaca Muerta.
Resolution 46/17 sets gas prices of $ 7.50 per million BTU for this year, $ 7 for 2019, $ 6.50 for 2020 and $ 6 for 2021, which means reducing subsidies. But when the agreement with the then Minister of Energy Juan José Aranguren was reached with the producers, an increase of more than 100 percent in the dollar price was not taken into account, and the portion to be subsidized to reach the price of support resolution 46 was higher than originally estimated. The main beneficiary of this subsidy is Tecpetrol, the Techint oil company, which will be most affected by the change in rules that Dujovne tries to implement to achieve a zero deficit.
"For reasons that I explained to the President, I resigned as an energy secretary, making me available to continue to accompany the transformation that took place. The task of building a country that is united, honest and fair is titanic. It requires passion and perseverance. #Noaflojemos", posted on Twitter. Officers who left the office on June 21, after serving since December 2015 in the leadership of the Department of National Highway, to replace the outdated Aranguren.
In his short trip through the Energy portfolio, which became Secretary, he applied a 30 percent increase in August for electricity services and a 35 percent increase in October for gas. In the tenth month of this year, it also cut the social level and eliminated the housing gas saving bonus. However, one of the cornerstones of his management was an attempt to transfer alleged losses in the gas distributor's balance sheet due to the devaluation impact in purchasing fuel for sale to households. The move, which was not discussed with Dujovne, resulted in a rejection even within the Cambiemos alliance, in the name of the radical wing, for this reason they had to go back and formulate a scheme so that the State faced compensation payments.
This led to virtual interventions from the Ministry of Finance at the Ministry of Energy, which contemplated the management of institutional communications and the freezing of their public appearances, which reduced their political aspirations. It also earned him a criminal case where he investigated if he committed a crime when dictating a resolution. Federal prosecutor Paloma Ochoa promoted the ex officio condemnation made by his colleague Guillermo Marijuan, and ratified the qualifications made by his colleagues: abuse of authority and violations of the duties of public officials. Add fraud numbers to the detriment of public administration, which stipulates sentences of up to six years. "I will answer Justice," he only said when announcing the reversal.
As confirmed by the Ministry of Finance, his successor was Lopetegui, who actually acted as the president's advisor. There were no expected changes in energy policy and the previous day Iguacel made clear, announced before his resignation, a 35 percent increase in gas and 55 percent in electricity for the first part of this year.