On March 25th, 2020, Decree No. 311/2020 (the “Decree”) was published in the Official Gazzete, which has imposed certain restrictions over public utility operators’ ability to interrupt the supply of services such as electricity supply, gas, running water and sewage, fixed or mobile telephone and internet, and cable television, linked by satellite or radio-electricity, to certain users (which are further detailed below), in case of delay or lack of payments up to (3) consecutive or alternated invoices with due dates since March 1st, 2020. In turn, the Decree has enforced price caps for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by fixing prices for 180-days.

The Decree is framed within Emergency Decree No. 297/2020, which has declared social, preventive and compulsory isolation for citizens and inhabitants of Argentina since March 20, 2020) due to the breakout of COVID-2019.

  1. Scope of the Decree

The Decree foresees that companies which provide services involving electrical power supply, gas, running water and sewage, mobile or fixed telephony and internet, and cable television, whether linked by satellite or radio-electricity, are refrained from interrupting the aforementioned services based on lack or non-timely payments of up to (3) consecutive or alternated invoices, with due dates starting on March 1st, 2020. This obligation will be maintained for 180 running days counting from the Decree’s effective date (term that would elapse on September 25th, 2020).

Companies that provide the previously mentioned services are bound to provide payment facilities for users which fail to make timely payments, in accordance to the rules to be enacted by the regulatory authority.

  1. Parties included

The Decree establishes that the measures referred to in the previous subheading will apply for the following residential and non-residential users:

(i) Universal Income by Son (AUH) and Pregnancy Income beneficiaries.

(ii) Non-contributive pension owners that perceive monthly gross income which does not exceed (2) times the minimum wage.

(iii) Users registered in the Mono-tax Social Regime.

(iv) Retirees and pensioners, and workers in relationship of dependence who perceive a gross salary equal or less to (2) times the minimum wage.

(v) Mono-tax workers registered in a category whose annual income turned into months do not exceed in (2) times the minimum wage.

(vi) Users who perceive an employment insurance.

(vii) Electro-dependents, beneficiaries of Law No. 27,351.

(viii) Users incorporated to the Social Security Special Regime for Particular Households Employees (Law No. 26,844).

(ix) Users exempted of paying the Lightning, Sweeping and Cleaning (ABL) service, or local taxes of the same nature.

(x) Micro, Small and Medium Size Companies (MiPyMES) in accordance with Law No. 25,300;

(xi) Working Cooperatives or Recovered Companies registered in the National Institute of Associativism and Social Economy (INAES) affected during the emergency, depending on the regulatory rules;

(xii) public or private health institutions affected during the emergency;

(xiii) the Public Welfare Entities which either produce or distribute food.

  1. LPG price cap

Furthermore, the Decree has set forth LPG price caps by fixing LPG price cap for the local markets for a 180-day term.

  1. Enforcement authority and invitation to adhere

Finally, the Decree appoints the Ministry of Productive Development as enforcement authority, which in turn is entrusted to issue complementary rules of the Decree; and invites the Provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires to adhere to the terms of the Decree.

For further information, please contact Nicolás Eliaschev and/or Javier Constanzó.


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