Madrid.— Regulated tariffs for households using a limited gas supply only for heating water and cooking will go up by 4.6 percent, an average of another 0.68 euros per month; but those who also use gas for heating will be stung with a price rise of 5.69 percent which averages out at an extra 2.78 euros more a month. “Insufficient” However, Liquid Gas and Fuel Suppliers' Association “AOGLP” said that the increase in rates was not enough because the government is keeping prices to customers below the true cost of the product. A spokesman said yesterday that this “undervalue” is simply prolonging losses in the sector.

The rise in charges to customers paying national electricity prices - as opposed to those who have opted for commercial suppliers - will be applied according to individual tariff agreement. Householders paying full rates who have no discount for useage out of peak hours will have an increase of 1.37 percent, but those who have discounted rates are facing a hike of 3.38 percent.

The increase in charges will not be imposed on the three million disadvantaged clients whom the government provides with a specially reduced tariff for electricity and gas. These people are in a social needs category which the government describes as “vulnerable” and will not be having to face any increases until the end of 2013. Consumer organisations were quick to condemn the electricity and gas price rises yesterday. With a bottle of butane now costing 14.8 euros including VAT, a spokesman said the increases will be “disastrous” for families.

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