Argentina power companies reject state offer to pay debt with bond

The government's proposal is a ‘unilateral’ measure that could ‘affect legal security,’ the electricity generators’ association said

Electricity pylons and power lines. Source: Pexels

Power companies in the AGEERA electricity generators’ association have rejected Economy Minister Luis Caputo’s proposal to use bonds to pay power wholesaler CAMMESA’s debt of over US$1 billion.

On Wednesday, the Government formalized the regime to pay CAMMESA’s debt to generator companies via resolution 58/2024 of the Energy Secretariat, which was published in the Official Gazette. 

The government’s proposal, conceived by Caputo, consists of paying the debt for energy subsidies — with a 50% write-off — via a dollar-denominated bond, the AE38. This would defer overdue payments from December and January. The debt totals AR$1,100 billion (US$1.2 billion at the official rate, US$1 billion at the MEP rate), the resolution says.

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Within hours, the Association of Electric Energy Generators of the Argentine Republic (AGEERA, by its Spanish initials) sent a letter to the Economy Ministry listing seven reasons it was rejecting this form of payment.

The letter, signed by AGEERA President Gabriel Baldassarre, states that the proposal “impacts the financial commitments taken on by some power generators with those who provided financing to develop investments in their respective centers.”

It also notes that accepting this means of payment implies “an additional subtraction in the payment of generators who sell their energy to the spot market in pesos, which has already seen a strong devaluation because of the high inflation of recent months.”

In another section of the letter, AGEERA warns that “a unilateral modification, both in contracts and in other established rights, would have strong repercussions for the electricity market and signals for future investment, as well as in the financial credibility of companies, the market and the country.”

It adds that “a financial problem of the energy market would turn into non-compliance by the national government, a strong sign of a lack of legal security.”

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