Madrid.—Fuel and mortgages are just two of the basic services which became dearer two days ago amidst calls from the new Partido Popular's government in Madrid urging “moderation”.

The rises include higher prices for natural gas, fuel for transport companies and Post Office charges. Consumer associations have already expressed relief that costs of butane gas, household electricity supplies, water and telephone will remain “frozen”.

Not so happy however, are government workers who are not able to look forward to any salary increase this year, and those on a minimum wage who cannot now expect the size of their pay packet to increase at all. Going up however, are taxes and pensions along with motorway tolls which are expected to rise by an average of 3.2 percent, according to the motoring sector yesterday. “Minimal” increase
Laying out its plans for the first quarter of the year, Central Government's Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Energy confirmed only natural gas - rather than butane and electricity - will be undergoing a price rise. Some 3 million users will be seeing an average rise of 0.5% in their bills.

Meanwhile, 20 million customers of government regulated electricity supplies will pay unchanged tariffs and the price of a butane gas tank will remain at 15.09 euros for 7 million users.

Industry Minister, José Manuel Soria has chosen to keep electricity prices as they are, prior to a complete overhaul of the system this coming March. Soria said this is needed to tackle the huge 22'000 million euros deficit in income for the demand for power. All energy tariffs are due for revision.

The basic telephone charge of 13.97 euros a month for people who are customers of Telefonica will remain unchanged for the fourth year running. As of the first of this month, the company guaranteed the minimum speed of internet access will be 1 mega per second.

Post Office users will be paying an extra 2.86 percent for sending a letter under normal service.
People with an average 20 year mortgage of 120'000 euros can expect to pay 360 euros more per year taking into account Euribor adjustments.


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