Sunday, April 19, 2009

Protest of Electric Rate Hike

On Friday, more than a hundred leaders from 11 municipalities came to together in Mazatenango to denounce the increase in electric rates imposed by Union Fenosa.

They also denounced the fees for public lighting that are charged in an area where there are no poles of the Municipality of Mazatenango.

The protestors marched through the town and then stopped in front of the Interior Department to press for actions by the president.

The approximately 150 protesters were members of the Departmental Association of Cocode (Asodecos) of Suchitepéquez.

They also added that electric bills include a fixed charge of Q13.20 where the Value Added Tax was not charged.

Villagers are unhappy that their bills have increased over 50 percent from what they paid per month a few months ago.

Calls were made for additional public support from the departments of San Marcos, Quiche, Huehuetenango and other regions.

Francisco Castro, of Asodecos, stated that according to the National Institute of Statistics, poverty affects 75 percent of the population. "Of this, 55 per cent suffer from extreme poverty, which shows that people have no ability to pay high fees," he said, and requested that the government withdraw the grant of power distribution rights from Union Fenosa.

Governor Werner Martinez undertook to report this request to the president and Congress.

Hector Salvatierra, a spokesman for Union Fenosa, said that the rate has fallen rather than risen. He added that the population is being manipulated by groups interested in destabilizing things.

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