Knowing the details of the controversial application of the Gas de Chile pilot plan was the aim of the last session of the Mining and Energy Commission, as far as Energy Minister, Diego Pardo and Gloria Maldonado, President of the Enap Board of Directors, and the company’s general manager, Julio Friedman.
A few days ago, the company sent a letter to the Chamber of Deputies, detailing the costs involved in producing more than five thousand 15 kg cylinders of liquefied gas and distributing them among three thousand vulnerable families in Chiguayante, San Fernando and Quintero. was distributed. Between August and December 2022, when the pilot plan worked, the state company had to invest 591 million pesos, which was far more than the cost of the business that the executive had committed to.
In this context, the senators invited the authorities to clarify the difference in prices. A cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usually costs 24,000 pesos, but Enap sold it for 15,000 pesos (40% less than the market price).
The Chairman of the Enap Board of Directors thus agreed that “We as the Board of Directors agree to participate in this non-commercial project with certain conditions, such as that the selling price reflects the cost, be limited to 6 thousand cylinders, To be made for a maximum of 5 months and to be distributed only in San Fernando (…), then the Ministry of Energy asked us to extend the pilot to more communes, ensuring that the costs would be covered by the budgetary glut “.
“After the experience, we dimensioned a different business model that allows us to enter the wholesale world in alliance with multi-brand retailers,” he said, which was confirmed by Minister Pardo, who clarified that ” Enap LPG will limit the wholesale distribution segment.” , where the company has comparative advantages”.
In fact, Maldonado pointed out that so far seven retail customers have joined Gas de Chile. Of these, three already have their own cylinders and have become multi-brand retailers, and the remaining four are new retail operators. It is about the southern plains from Talca; Gasparin, from San Fernando; Comunigas from Curico and HN from Linares, joining three already running: Suma Gas, Gasnet and Glen Energy.
Senators Juan Luis Castro, Luz Ebensperger, José Miguel Durana and Rafael Prohens described the error as “implementing an underfunded pilot plan.” The first consulted Enap whether it received political pressure to accept the ministry’s demand because “neither the strategy nor the numbers fit” while Durana said that “I would like to know if the money can be returned to Enap”. because it is public money” and Prohens made it clear that “how will the transfer be done if the indicated brightness does not exist?
Then-Senator Jaime Quintana recalled the context of high social pressure in which the pilot plan was drawn up, acknowledging that “there is a political, technical and communicational responsibility that must be reviewed.”
Meanwhile, Senator Gaston Saavedra insisted on collusion in the gas business which prompted the FNE to study the market. “To start with, you had to make an initial investment. I hope the model is refined,” he said.
Meanwhile, the secretary of state announced that in the rest of the year, the executive branch will introduce a bill to improve competition and improve the LPG market through the lower house.
In this regard, he explained that the initiative would seek to separate the retail market from the wholesaler in accordance with the recommendations made by the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office (FNE), prohibit exclusivity clauses and measures to safeguard free competition, and trace implement the potential of Cylinder system.
In an oblique way, the commission consulted the authority on whether the norm would generate an effective reduction in the price of liquefied gas cylinders, when opposition MPs questioned the principles laid down.