Chile's president inks bill to cut electricity costs amid unrest

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-25 10:42:05|Editor: Liu
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SANTIAGO, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed a bill on Thursday to overturn a recent hike in electricity rates, one of several measures aimed at calming social upheaval.

"This is good news for almost 7 million households," Pinera said after signing the bill at the presidential headquarters, accompanied by Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet and Interior Minister Andres Chadwick.

The electricity rates stabilization bill cancels a 9.2-percent increase in electricity prices, which are expected to fall in 2021 due to the introduction of renewable energies and a stronger Chilean peso.

"Without a doubt, this means relief in the electric bill," Pinera said.

The move is one of a series of measures Pinera proposed on Tuesday following days of nationwide anti-government protests against the high cost of living. Violence ensuing such protests has left at least 18 people dead.

According to the president's office, the initiatives provide urgent relief to vulnerable sectors, the middle class, the elderly and the most neglected.

Protests were sparked on Oct. 14 by an increase in subway fares, and grew to reflect widespread discontent with Pinera's conservative administration.

On Oct. 19, Pinera declared a state of emergency and imposed in most of the country a curfew that is still in force in many regions.

Pinera also said this week that he would sign a bill on Friday to increase pensions by 20 percent for almost 3 million people.