The Argentine Electricity Sector
- Description of the sector
Electricity was first made available in Argentina in 1887 with the first public street lighting in Buenos Aires. The Argentine Government’s involvement in the electricity sector began in 1946 with the creation of the Dirección General de Centrales Eléctricas del Estado (General Directorate of Electric Power Plants of the State) to construct and operate electricity generation plants. In 1947, the Argentine Government created Agua y Energía Eléctrica S.A. (Water and Electricity, or ‘AyEE’) to develop a system of hydroelectric generation, transmission and distribution for Argentina.
In 1961, the Argentine Government granted a concession to the Compañía Italo Argentina de Electricidad (Italian Argentinean Electricity Company, or ‘CIADE’) for electrical distribution in a part of the City of Buenos Aires. In 1962, the Argentine Government granted a concession formerly held by the Compañía Argentina de Electricidad (Argentine Electricity Company, or ‘CADE’) to Servicios Eléctricos del Gran Buenos Aires (Electricity Services of Greater Buenos Aires, or ‘SEGBA’) for the generation and distribution of electricity to parts of Buenos Aires. In 1967, the Argentine Government granted a concession to Hidroeléctrica Norpatagónica S.A. (‘Hidronor’) to build and operate a series of hydroelectric generation facilities. In 1978, CIADE transferred all of its assets to the Argentine Government, following which CIADE’s business became state owned and operated.
By 1990, virtually all of the electricity supply in Argentina was controlled by the public sector (97% of total generation). The Argentine Government had assumed responsibility for the regulation of the industry at the national level and controlled all of the national electricity companies, AyEE, SEGBA and Hidronor. The Argentine Government also represented Argentine interests in generation facilities developed or operated jointly with Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. In addition, several provinces operated their own electricity companies. Inefficient management and inadequate capital spending, which prevailed under national and provincial government control, were in large measure responsible for the deterioration of physical equipment, decline in quality of service and proliferation of financial losses that occurred during this period.
In 1991, as part of the economic plan adopted by then President Carlos Menem, the Argentine Government undertook an extensive privatization program of all major state owned industries, including within the electricity generation, transmission and distribution sectors. In 1992, the Argentine Congress adopted Law No. 24,065, the Electricity Regulation Framework (a supplement to Law No. 15,336, Federal Electricity Law, and its Administrative Order No. 1,398/92), which was the keystone for the reform and privatization of the sector. The goal of the law was to modernize the electricity sector by promoting efficiency, competition, improved service and private investment.
It restructured and reorganized the sector, and provided for the privatization of virtually all business activities that had been carried out by Argentine state-owned enterprises. The law established the basis for the ENRE (Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad or the ‘National Electricity Regulatory Entity’) and other institutional authorities in the sector, the administration of the Wholesale Electricity Market(‘WEM’), pricing at the spot, tariff-setting in regulated areas and for evaluating assets to be privatized. This law also had a profound, albeit indirect, impact at the provincial level, as virtually all of the provinces followed the regulatory and institutional guidelines of this law. Finally, this law, which continues to provide the framework for regulation of the electricity sector since the privatization of this sector, divided generation, transmission and distribution of electricity into separate businesses, each subject to segment-specific regulation.
Under Law No. 24,065, distribution and transmission activities are considered public services and defined as natural monopolies. These activities are completely regulated by the Government and require a concession. Although the concessions granted to distributors do not impose specific investment parameters, distributors are obligated to connect new customers and meet any increased demand. The expansion of existing transmission facilities by the respective concessionaires is not restricted. In contrast, generation, although regulated by the Government, is not deemed a monopoly activity and is subject to free competition by new market entrants. Operation of hydroelectric power plants requires a concession from the Government. New generation projects do not require concessions but must be registered with the Former Secretariat of Energy (‘SE’).
Many of the provincial governments, following the privatization path in the sector, have established their own politically and financially independent regulatory bodies at the provincial level. Local distribution in the provinces (except the City of Buenos Aires and certain areas of the Province of Buenos Aires that were served by SEGBA and today are served by Edenor and Edesur) is regulated by each province. Previously, the utilities themselves had played a major role in making sector policies and setting tariffs for the provinces.
At the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002, Argentina experienced an unprecedented crisis that virtually paralyzed the country’s economy through most of 2002 and led to radical changes in Government policies. The crisis and the Government’s policies during this period severely affected the electricity sector. Pursuant to the Emergency Law, the Argentine Government, among other measures:
- Converted electricity prices and transmission and distribution tariffs from their original U.S. Dollar values to Pesos at a rate of Ps. 1.00 per US$1.00;
- Froze all regulated transmission and distribution tariffs, revoked all price adjustment provisions and inflation indexation mechanisms in public utility concessions (including electricity transmission and distribution concessions), and empowered the Executive Branch to conduct a renegotiation of these concessions, including the tariffs for electricity transmission and distribution services; and
- Required that spot prices on the WEM be calculated based on the price of natural gas (which is also regulated by the Argentine Government), regardless of the fuel actually used in generation activities, even if gas is unavailable.
These measures created a huge structural deficit in the operation of the WEM and, combined with the devaluation of the Peso and high rates of inflation, had a severe effect on the electricity sector in Argentina, as electricity companies experienced a decline in revenues in real terms and a deterioration of their operating performance. Most electricity companies had also incurred large amounts of foreign currency indebtedness under the Convertibility regime. Following the elimination of the Convertibility regime and the resulting devaluation of the Peso, the debt service burden of these companies increased sharply, leading many of these companies to suspend payments on their foreign currency debt in 2002. This situation caused many Argentine electricity generators, transmission companies and distributors to defer further investments in their networks. As a result, Argentine electricity market participants, particularly generators, are currently operating at near full capacity, which could lead to insufficient supply to meet a growing national energy demand. In addition, the economic crisis and the resulting emergency measures had a material adverse effect on other energy sectors, including oil and gas companies, which has led to a significant reduction in natural gas supplies to generation companies that use this commodity in their generation activities.
In December 2004 the Argentine Government adopted new rules to meet demand growth, including the construction by the Argentine Government of two new 800 MW combined cycle generators. These generators commenced operations at full capacity in the first half of 2010. The costs of construction were primarily financed with net revenues of generators derived from energy sales in the spot market, deposited into a fund called the Fondo de Inversiones Necesarias que Permitan Incrementar la Oferta de Energía Eléctrica en el Mercado Eléctrico Mayorista (’FONINVEMEM’).
The construction of these new generators reflects a recent trend by the Argentine Government to take a more active role in promoting energy investments in Argentina. An example of this is the creation of Energía Argentina S.A. (‘ENARSA’) (Law No. 25,943), currently Integración Energética Argentina S.A. (‘IEASA’) with the purpose of developing almost every activity in the energy sector, from the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, the transport and distribution of natural gas, to the generation, transmission and distribution of energy. In addition to these projects, in April 2006 the Argentine Congress enacted a law that authorized the Executive Branch to create a special fund to finance infrastructure improvements in the Argentine energy sector through the expansion of generation, distribution and transmission infrastructure relating to natural gas, propane and electricity. The special fund would obtain funds through cargos específicos (specific charges) passed on to customers as an itemization on their energy bills.
Finally, in September 2006 the Argentine Government, in an effort to respond to the sustained increase in energy demand following Argentina’s economic recovery after the crisis, adopted new measures that seek to ensure that energy available in the market is used primarily to service residential users and industrial and commercial users whose energy demand is at or below 300 kW and who do not have access to other viable energy alternatives. In addition, these measures seek to create incentives for generation plants to meet increasing energy needs by allowing them to sell new energy generation into the Energía Plus (Resolution No. 1281/06 of the SE (former Secretariat of Energy) system at unregulated market prices.
Continuing with the trend to encourage the installation of new generation, the SE by means of its Resolution No. 220/2007 and modifications thereto, allowed CAMMESA to execute WEM Supply Agreements with a generator agent of the WEM. The values to be paid by CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Eléctrico Mayorista or the ‘Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company’) in consideration for the capacity and the energy supplied by the generator must be approved by the SE. The generator shall guarantee certain availability of the generation units (established as a percentage), and if it fails to do so, penalties apply.
In 2008, the SE allowed CAMMESA to execute WEM Supply Agreements with generators the intention of which is to execute plans to repair and/or repower their generating equipment, and for the cost which would exceed 50% of the revenues that they expect to receive on the sales to the spot market.
Since 2013, the SE introduced material changes to the structure and operation of the WEM through Resolution No. 95/2013, as amended, establishing a different remuneration scheme in Pesos (payable in cash and receivables) for the whole generation sector, except certain power plants and electricity sold under contracts with differential remuneration, regulated by SE.
For generation not covered by contracts, through Resolutions No. 19E/2017 of the SEE (Subsecretariat of Electric Energy) and 1/2019 of the SRRYME (Secretariat of Renewable Resources and Electricity Market), from February 1, 2017 to January 31, 2020, a US$-denominated remuneration scheme was stablished, which provided for a remuneration for power capacity and non-fuel energy, as well as the elimination of remunerations in the form of receivables. It is worth mentioning that as from March 1, 2019, reductions were applied to remuneration, and a reduction coefficient was incorporated to the power capacity remuneration, according to the unit’s utilization factor of the unit.
Later, Resolution No. 31/2020 of the SE (Secretariat of Energy), converted the entire remuneration scheme to the local currency at a FX (Foreign Exchange) of AR$60/US$ with lower power capacity remuneration, effective as from February 1, 2020. An additional remuneration was incorporated in the hours of high thermal dispatch and an update factor was established as from the second month of its application, which follows a formula consisting of 60% CPI (Consumer Price Index) and 40% IPIM (Wholesale Domestic Price Index). However, the SE, through the Note NO-2020-24910606-APN-SE#MDP, instructed CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company) to postpone until further decision the application of said update factor.
Regarding the fuel supply for power plants, the purchase and dispatch of fuels remained centralized in CAMMESA until October 2018, excluding generators with Energía Plus (SE Resolution No. 1281/06) contracts. In November 2018, Resolution No. 70/2018 of the SGE (former Government Secretariat of Energy) amended SE Resolution No. 95/2013, authorizing power generators, co-generators and self-generators within the WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market) to acquire fuels of any kind required for own power generation, originally for units with remuneration scheme under SEE Res. No. 19E/2017, and later being extended to units with differential remuneration. The cost of generation with own fuels would be valued according to the mechanism for the recognition of CVP (Variable Production Cost) standardized by CAMMESA. It should be noted that for agents which ‘did not or couldn’t’ make use of such capacity, CAMMESA continued being in charge of the commercial management and the dispatch of fuels. However, through Resolution No. 12/19 of the MDP (Ministry of Productive Development), as from December 30, 2019, SGE Resolution No. 70/18 was abrogated and the centralization of fuel procurement and supply in CAMMESA was restored, a measure that does not cover generators with Energía Plus contracts.
On the other hand, as a result of the state emergency in the national electricity sector, on March 22, 2016 the SEE through Resolution No. 21/16 launched a call for tenders for new thermal power generation capacity with the commitment to making it available through the WEM for the 2016/2017 summer, 2017 winter and 2017/2018 summer periods. Moreover, in line with the measures seeking to increase the electric power generation offer, on May 10, 2017 the SEE issued Resolution No. 287/17 launching a call for tenders for co-generation projects and the closing to combined cycles over existing equipment.
Regarding renewable energies, in October 2015, Law No. 27,191 (regulated by Executive Order No. 531/16) was passed, which amends Law No. 26,190 on the promotion of renewable sources of energy. Among other measures, it provided that by December 31, 2025, 20% of the total demand of energy in Argentina should be covered with renewable sources of energy.
- MEyM (former Ministry of Energy and Mining) Resolution No. 71/16, launched the RenovAr 1 open call for tenders, continuing with RenovAr 1.5 (MEyM Resolution No. 252-E/16), RenovAr 2.0 (MEyM Resolution No. 275-E17) and MiniRen Round 3 (SGE Resolution No. 100/18)
- MEyM Resolution No. 281-E/2017 issued in August 2017, regulated the MAT ER (Term Market from Renewable Energy Sources) regime, which aims to set the conditions for large users within the WEM and GUDI (Large Distribution Company Users) to meet their demand supply obligation from renewable sources through the individual purchase within the MAT ER or through self-generation from renewable sources
Transactions among different participants in the electricity industry take place through the Wholesale Electricity Market, or WEM, which was organized concurrently with the privatization process as a competitive market in which generators, distributors and certain large users of electricity could buy and sell electricity at prices determined by supply and demand, and were allowed to enter into long-term electricity supply contracts. The WEM consists of:
- a term market where quantities, prices and contractual conditions are agreed upon directly between sellers and buyers (after the enactment of former Secretariat of Energy (‘SE’) Resolution No. 95/2013, this was limited to the Energy Plus market, and later being added the Term Market from Renewable Energy Sources, also known as MAT ER, according to Resolution No. 281/2017 of former Ministry of Energy and Mining);
- a spot market where prices are established on an hourly basis as a function of economic production cost; and
- a stabilized pricing system of spot prices, which we refer to as the seasonal price, set on a semi-annual basis and designed to mitigate the volatility of spot prices for purchases of electricity by distributors.
The following chart shows the relationships among the various actors in the WEM:
The creation of the WEM (‘Wholesale Electricity Market’) made it necessary to create an entity in charge of the management of the WEM and the dispatch of electricity into the SADI (Sistema Argentino de Interconexión or ‘Argentine Electricity Grid’). The duties were entrusted to CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Eléctrico Mayorista or ‘Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company’), a private company created for this purpose.
CAMMESA is in charge of:
- the dispatch of electricity into the SADI, maximizing the SADI’s safety and the quality of electricity supplied and minimizing wholesale prices in the spot market;
- planning energy capacity needs and optimizing energy use in accordance with the rules set forth from time to time by the Former Secretariat of Energy (‘SE’);
- monitoring the operation of the term market and administering the technical dispatch of electricity under agreements entered into in that market;
- acting as agent of the various WEM agents and carrying out the duties entrusted to it in connection with the electricity industry, including billing and collecting payments for transactions between WEM agents (upon enactment of SE Resolution No. 95/2013, this was limited to the contracts then in force and, thereafter, to those contracts executed under Energy Plus Program, and later being added those contracts executed under Term Market from Renewable Energy Sources (‘MAT ER’) according to Resolution No. 281/2017 of former Ministry of Energy and Mining);
- purchasing and/or selling electric power from abroad or to other countries by performing the relevant import/export transactions;
- purchasing and administrating of fuels for the applicable WEM generators; and
- providing consulting and other related services.
Five groups of entities each hold 20% of the capital stock of CAMMESA. The five groups are the Argentine Government, the associations that represent the generation companies, transmission companies, distribution companies and large users.
CAMMESA is managed by a board formed by representatives of its shareholders. The board of CAMMESA is composed of ten regular and ten alternate directors. Each of the associations that represent generation companies, transmission companies, distribution companies and large users are entitled to appoint two regular and two alternate directors of CAMMESA. The other directors of CAMMESA are the Under Subsecretariat of Electric Energy, who is the board chairman in virtue of the delegation of the Federal Government, and an independent member, who acts as vice chairman. The decisions adopted by the board of directors require the affirmative vote of the board chairman. CAMMESA’s operating costs are financed through mandatory contributions by the WEM agents.
Generators are companies with electricity generating plants that sell output either partially or wholly through the SADI. Generators are subjected to the scheduling and dispatch rules set out in the regulations and managed by CAMMESA. Privately owned generators may also enter into direct contracts with distributors or large users. However this possibility was suspended by SE Resolution No. 95/2013, limited to the contracts executed under Energy Plus Program, and later being added those contracts executed under MAT ER according to Resolution No. 281/2017 of former Ministry of Energy and Mining.
As of December 31, 2021, Argentina had a nominal installed capacity as reported by CAMMESA of approximately 42,989 MW (+1,038 MW compared to 2020), composed by 59.1% of thermal, 25.2% of hydroelectric, 11.6% of renewable and 4.1% of nuclear. This increase was mainly due to the commissioning of renewable units under the RenovAr and MAT ER programs for 1,001 MW. In the thermal area, 127 MW were commissioned, mostly under Resolution No. 287/17 of the SEE (Subsecretariat of Electric Energy) and 15 MW from CTLL (Loma de La Lata Thermal Power Plant).
Moreover, 2021 recorded a 6% increase in power generation, with 141,257 GWh and 133,589 GWh volumes for 2021 and 2020, respectively, mainly due to the demand recovery and higher net exports.
- Thermal power generation remained as the main source of electricity demand, fired with natural gas or liquid fuels (gas oil (GO) and fuel oil (FO)) and mineral coal. It supplied an electricity volume of 90,073 GWh (64%), followed by hydroelectric power generation, which contributed 23,580 GWh net of pumping (17%), renewable power generation with 17,435 GWh (12%), and nuclear power generation with 10,170 GWh (7%). Additionally, there were imports for 819 GWh (-32% vs. 2020), exports for 3,850 GWh (+25% vs. 2020), and losses for 4,355 GWh (-1% vs. 2020).
- Hydroelectric power generation net of pumping decreased its contribution volume by 17% compared to 2020, mainly due to the droughts that affected the main basins (Comahue, Paraná and Uruguay). This decrease was partially offset by the increase in renewable (+37%), thermal (+9%) and nuclear (+2%) generation compared to 2020, mainly on account of the commissioning of the PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) under RenovAr, MAT ER (Term Market from Renewable Energy Sources) and SEE Resolution No. 287/17.
The following chart shows the evolution of power generation by source (thermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, and renewable) in GWh:
|Type of generation||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Total generation in Argentina||118,254||124,659||128,978||129,330||134,624||136,135||136,064||137,199||130,838||133,583||141,257|
Transmission companies hold a concession to transmit electric energy from the bulk supply point to electricity distributors. The transmission activity in Argentina is subdivided into two systems: the High Voltage Transmission System (‘STEEAT’), which operates at 500 kV and transports electricity between regions, and the regional distribution system (‘STEEDT’) which operates at 132/220 kV and connects generators, distributors and large users within the same region. Transener is the only company in charge of the STEEAT, and six regional companies are located within the STEEDT (Litsa, Transnoa, Transnea, Transpa, Transba and Distrocuyo). In addition to these companies, there are also independent transmission companies that operate under a technical license provided by the STEEAT or STEEDT companies.
Transmission and distribution services are carried out through concessions. These concessions are re-distributed periodically based on a re-bidding process. Transmission companies are responsible for the operation and maintenance of their networks, but not for the expansion of the system. The transmission concessions operate under the technical, safety and reliability standards established by the ENRE (Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad or ‘National Electricity Regulatory Entity’). Penalties are applied whenever a transmission concessionaire fails to meet these criteria, particularly those regarding outages and grid downtime. Generators can only build lines to connect to the grid, or directly to customers. Users pay for new transmission capacity undertaken by them or on their behalf. A public hearing process for these projects is conducted by the ENRE, which issues a ‘Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity’. Transmission or distribution networks connected to an integrated system must provide open access to third parties under a regulated toll system unless there is a capacity constraint.
Distributors are companies holding a concession to distribute electricity to consumers. Distributors are required to supply any and all demand of electricity in their exclusive areas of concession, at prices (tariffs) and conditions set in regulation. Penalties for non-supply are included in the concessions agreements. The three distribution companies divested from SEGBA (Edenor, Edesur and Edelap) represent more than 40% of the electricity market in Argentina. Only a few distribution companies (i.e., Empresa Provincial de Energía de Córdoba, Empresa de Energía de Santa Fé, and Energía de Misiones) remain in the hands of the provincial governments and cooperatives. Edelap has been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Province of Buenos Aires.
Each distributor supplies electricity and operates the electricity distribution network in a specific geographical area under a concession. Each concession determines, among others, the concession area, the quality of service required, the tariffs to be paid by consumers, and the extent of the obligation to meet the demand.
The ENRE monitors the compliance of the distributors at the federal level, and provides a mechanism for public hearings in which complaints against distributors can be heard and resolved. In addition, the provincial regulatory bodies control the compliance of the local distributors with their respective concessions and local regulatory frameworks.
The provincial authorities and the ENRE control the fulfillment of the concession agreements of these public services in the provinces. Many provincial governments that have launched reforms in the electricity sector have followed the terms and conditions of the concessions used for the distribution of public services at the national level.
The wholesale electricity market classifies large users of energy into three categories: (1) Grandes Usuarios Mayores (Major Large Users or ‘GUMAs’), (2) Grandes Usuarios Menores (Minor Large Users or ‘GUMEs’) and (3) Grandes Usuarios Particulares (Particular Large Users or ‘GUPAs’).
Each of these categories of users has different requirements with respect to purchases of their energy demand. For example, GUMAs are required to purchase 50% of their demand through supply contracts and the remainder in the spot market, while GUMEs and GUPAs are required to purchase all of their demand through supply contracts.
Large users participate in CAMMESA by appointing two acting and two alternate directors through the Asociación de Grandes Usuarios de Energía Eléctrica de la República Argentina (‘Argentine Association of Electric Power Large Users’ or AGUEERA).
Price of electricity
The energy authority has continued with the policy launched in 2003, under which the WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market) spot price is determined according to the available generating units’ CVP (Costo Variable de Producción or Variable Production Cost) with natural gas, even if they are not generating electricity with such fuel (Resolution No. 240/03 of the SE (former Secretariat of Energy)). The additional cost for consuming liquid fuels is recognized outside the specified market price as a temporary dispatch surcharge. Moreover, the WEM bears the costs of natural gas and its regulated transportation, in addition to the associated costs in the case of import (Resolution No. 25/18 of the SGE (former Government Secretariat of Energy) and SE Resolution No. 354/20).
As from November 2019, the Resolution approved maximum spot price for energy was AR$720/MWh (Resolution No. 38/19 of SEE (Subsecretariat of Electric Energy)), later updated to AR$930/MWh as from August 2021 (SE Resolution No. 748/21). However, the following chart shows the average monthly price that all electricity system users should pay so that the power grid would not run into a deficit. In addition to the energy price, this cost includes the power capacity fee, the generation cost, fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil, gas oil and mineral coal, and other minor items.
Note: Average monthly monomic price in US$/MWh. Source: CAMMESA, converted into dollars at the official exchange rate.
Fuel supply and consumption
Regarding fuel supply for power generation, under Resolution No. 12/19 of the MDP (Ministry of Productive Development) fuel commercial management and procurement was centralized again in CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company) as from December 30, 2019, except for generators with PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) under Energía Plus and SEE Resolution No. 287/17. Moreover, for exempted generators, an optional scheme was established for the operating assignment of natural gas supply and transportation to CAMMESA, effective as from January 2021, due to the implementation of Plan Gas.Ar (SE Resolution No. 354/20). Pampa adhered to this scheme. Additionally, this new scheme set a new thermal dispatch order centralized in CAMMESA, prioritizing units supplied with gas imported from Bolivia under a take or pay condition, followed by those under Plan Gas.Ar and, lastly, units with gas assigned to CAMMESA.
Fuel consumption reached 54.4 million m3/day of gas equivalent in 2021, a figure 10% higher than in 2020. The use of natural gas for power plants amounted to 44.8 million m3/day in 2021, similar to 2020 figures, being 75% local gas and 25% imported gas1. However, alternative fuels (fuel oil, gas oil and mineral coal) were used in volumes significantly higher than 2020, especially during winter, to meet higher thermal energy demand. The fuel oil grew by 29%, to 2.4 million m3/day of gas equivalent, whereas the gas oil and mineral coal doubled, to 5.7 and 1.5 million m3/day of gas equivalent, respectively.
Note: (1) In 2021, the LNG (liquified natural gas) regasification ship, which had left in 2018, returned to Bahía Blanca to reduce fuel oil and gas oil consumption.
- Remuneration scheme for generation not covered by contracts – legacy energy
As from February 1, 2020, under Resolution No. 31/20 of the SE (Secretariat of Energy), the entire remuneration scheme was converted from US$ to AR$ at an FX of AR$60/US$, and an update factor was established as from the second month of its application, with a formula consisting of 60% CPI (Consumer Price Index) and 40% IPIM (Wholesale Domestic Price Index). However, this factor was not implemented.
On May 21, 2021, SE Resolution No. 440/21 was published in the Public Gazette, increasing 29% on average the remuneration scheme under SE Resolution No. 31/20, retroactive as of February 2021, and rendered ineffective the update factor. Generators could apply this increase provided they waived and/or dismissed all administrative and/or judicial claims filed due to the non-application of the automatic adjustment formula set by SE Resolution No. 31/20. Pampa adhered to this scheme.
Thermal power generators
The remuneration comprises a fixed remuneration for the monthly available power capacity, either with or without DIGO (Guaranteed Availability Commitment), a variable remuneration for the generated energy and the operated energy, and an additional monthly remuneration for the average capacity actually delivered during each month’s HMRT (hours of maximum thermal demand).
The prices for power capacity, in AR$/MW-month, for generators not offering DIGO, are as follows:
|Technology / scale||Until Jan-21||As from Feb-21|
|Large CC (combined cycle) > 150 MW||100,650||129,839|
|Small CC ≤ 150 MW||112,200||144,738|
|Large ST (steam turbine) > 100 MW||143,550||185,180|
|Small ST ≤ 100 MW & ICE (internal combustion engines) > 42 MW||171,600||221,364|
|Large GT (gas turbine) > 50 MW||117,150||151,124|
|Small GT ≤ 50 MW||151,800||195,822|
|Small CC ≤ 15 MW||204,00||263,160|
|Small ST ≤ 15 MW & ICE ≤ 42 MW||312,000||402,480|
|Small GT ≤ 15 MW||276,000||356,040|
The prices for power capacity, in AR$/MW-month, for generators offering DIGO, are as follows:
|Period||Until Jan-21||As from Feb-21|
|Summer (Dec-Feb) and winter (Jun-Aug) in general||360,000||464,400|
|Others (Mar-May & Sep-Nov) in general||270,000||348,300|
|Summer and Winter for ICE ≤ 42 MW||420,000||541,800|
|Others for ICE ≤ 42 MW||330,000||425,700|
Additionally, whether the agent offers DIGO or not, the following calculations apply to power capacity prices based on the load factor (dispatch during the rolling year prior to the calculation month):
|Load factor||In general||For ICE ≤ 42|
|< 30%||Price x 60%||Price x 70%|
|≥ 30% & <70%||Price x (load factor + 30%)||Price x (load factor x 75% + 47.5%)|
|≥ 70%||Price x 100%||Price x 100%|
Prices for generated energy according to the fuel, in AR$/MWh, are as follows:
|Fuel||Until Jan-21||As from Feb-21|
|FO or GO||420||542|
|Biofuels in general||600||774|
|Biofuels for ICE ≤ 42 MW||720||774|
The price for operated energy was set at AR$84/MWh until January 2021 and AR$108/MWh as from February 2021, irrespective of the fuel type.
Finally, the additional remuneration applies to the average capacity actually delivered in the first and second 25 HMRT (hours of maximum thermal demand) of each month. It was set at AR$37,500/MW-HMRT until January 2021 and AR$48,375/MW-HMRT as from February 2021, applying the following factors according to the period:
|Period||First 25 HMRT hours||Second 25 HMRT hours|
|Summer (Dec-Feb) and Winter (Jun-Aug)||1.2||0.6|
|Others (Mar-May & Sep-Nov)||0.2||–|
Hydro power generators
The remuneration comprises a fixed remuneration for the monthly available power capacity, a variable remuneration for the generated energy and the operated energy, and an additional monthly remuneration for the average operated capacity available during each month’s HMRT. In addition, a 1.05 factor was set over the power capacity to compensate for programmed maintenance’s impacts, and a 1.20 factor for units maintaining control structures on river courses and not having an associated power plant.
The following chart shows power capacity prices in AR$/MW-month:
|Scale||Until Jan-21||As from Feb-21|
|Large HI (hydroelectric plants) > 300 MW||99,000||127,710|
|Medium HI > 120 MW & ≤ 300 MW||132,000||170,280|
|Small HI > 50 MW & ≤ 120 MW||181,500||234,135|
|Renewable HI ≤ 50 MW||297,000||383,130|
|Large pumped HI > 300 MW||99,000||127,710|
|Medium pumped HI > 120 MW & ≤ 300 MW||132,000||170,280|
The price for generated energy was set at AR$210/MWh until January 2021 and AR$271/MWh as from February 2021, and the price for operated energy at AR$84/MWh until January 2021 and AR$108/MWh as from February 2021. The remuneration for operated energy is according to the grid’s optimal dispatch. The provision does not indicate, as it does for thermal generators, which would be the consequence otherwise.
The additional remuneration for the average operated energy available in each month’s HMRT, in AR$/MW-HMRT, are as follows:
|Scale||Until Jan-21||As from Feb-21|
|Large HI > 300 MW||27,500||35,475|
|Medium HI > 120 MW & ≤ 300 MW||32,500||41,925|
|Small HI > 50 MW & ≤ 120 MW||32,500||41,925|
|Renewable HI ≤ 50 MW||35,000||45,150|
|Large pumped HI > 300 MW||27,500||35,475|
|Medium pumped HI > 120 MW & ≤ 300 MW||32,500||41,925|
Moreover, the following factors apply to the additional remuneration, according to the period:
|Period||First 25 HMRT hours||Second 25 HMRT hours|
|Summer (Dec-Fed) and Winter (Jun-Ago)||1.2||0.6|
|Others (Mar-May & Sep-Nov)||0.2||–|
Additionally, in the case of pumped hydroelectric units, both the generated energy and that consumed for pumping are considered. Besides, if it works as a synchronous condenser, AR$60/MVAr were recognized until January 2021 and AR$77/MVAr as from February 2021, for the megavolt-amperes (MVAr) exchanged with the grid when required, in addition to the prices for operated energy.
Classification of Pampa’s legacy energy units
|Source||Power Plant||Generating unit||Technology||Size||Capacity|
||CTLL (Loma de la Lata)||LDLACC01(1)||CC||Large||> 150 MW|
|LDLAGT04(2)||GT||Large||> 50 MW|
|LDLMDI01(3)||ICE||Small||≤ 42 MW|
|CTG (Güemes)||GUEMST11||ST||Small||≤ 100 MW|
|GUEMST13||ST||Large||> 100 MW|
|CTGEBA (Genelba)||GEBAGT01||CC||Large||> 150 MW|
|CPB (Piedra Buena)||BBLAST29||ST||Large||> 100 MW|
|CTP (Piquirenda)||PIQIDI01(4)||ICE||Small||≤ 42 MW|
|Hydro||HIDISA (Diamante)||ADTOHI||HI||Medium||> 120 MW ≤ 300 MW|
|LREYHB||Pumped HI||Medium||> 120 MW ≤ 300 MW|
|ETIGHI||Renewable HI||–||≤ 50 MW|
|HINISA (Los Nihuiles)||NIH1HI||HI||Small||> 50 MW ≤ 120 MW|
|HPPL (Pichi Picún Leufú)||PPLEHI||HI||Medium||> 120 MW ≤ 300 MW|
Notes: 1 As from November 1, 2021. Instead of CC01-03, they were previously TG01-03, classified as GT technology, large size and installed capacity > 50 MW. 2 Only the unit’s 26 MW apply. 3 Commissioned on August 3, 2021. 4 As from July 15, 2021. 5 A 1.20 coefficient applies to the remuneration.
In the case of CTG’s GUEMTG01, EcoEnergía and CTGEBA’s GEBATG03 units, both energy and available power capacity delivered to the spot market and not committed under Energía Plus and SEE Resolution No. 287/17 PPA, will be remunerated as legacy energy, being the cost of fuel provided by CAMMESA out of the transaction.
A single remuneration of AR$1,680/MWh until January 2021 and AR$2,167/MWh as from February 2021 was established for energy generated from an unconventional source. This is reduced by 50% for energy generated before commissioning.
As regards the repayment of the loans for the execution of overhauls, the application of all receivables accrued in favor of generators is established, as well as a discount scheme in the generator’s revenues for the unit’s actual availability, equivalent to the maximum between AR$60/MWh and AR$42,000/MW-month until January 2021, and between AR$77/MWh and AR$54,180/MW-month as from February 2021. It is worth highlighting that all overhauls financing owed by Pampa were settled under the Agreement for the Regularization and Settlement of Receivables with the WEM, executed with CAMMESA in August 2019.
Transitory additional remuneration
SE Resolution No. 1037/21 of November 2, 2021, created an exports account in the WEM’s stabilization fund to accumulate net income from CAMMESA’s electricity exports, effective as from the economic transactions of September 2021, to finance energy infrastructure works.
Moreover, an additional and transitory recognition was established for legacy power plants (except for binational hydros), remunerated between September 2021 and February 2022. This recognition was instrumented through Note NO-2021-108163338-APN-SE#ME. CAMMESA should pay 100% of the power capacity remuneration, plus an additional amount equivalent to AR$1,000/MWh for the energy exported by CAMMESA, to be distributed among applicable generators proportionally, based on their monthly generation.
- Non-spot remuneration for conventional energy
In September 2006, the SE (former Secretariat of Energy) approved Resolution No. 1281/06 implementing Energía Plus scheme to encourage the development of new power generation supply. Power generators, co-generators and self-generators, which as of the date of this Resolution are neither WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market) agents nor have facilities or interconnection with the WEM, may sell to GU300 (Large users with demands in excess of 300 kW) the energy used over the Base Demand (the electrical consumption for the year 2005) at a price negotiated between the parties. These power plants should procure fuel and transportation. In the case of new GU300 entering the grid, their Base Demand is zero.
Agents not meeting their Energía Plus demand should purchase that power at the operated marginal cost in the spot market. Moreover, SE Note No. 567/07, as amended, provided that GU300 not purchasing their Surplus Demand within the MAT should pay the CMIEE (Surplus Demand Incremental Average Charge or Cargo Medio Incremental de la Demanda Excedente). The difference between the actual cost and the CMIEE would be accumulated in an individual account for each GU300 within CAMMESA’s (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company) scope. From June 2018, through SE Note No. 28663845/18, the CMIEE became the greater of AR$1,200/MWh or the temporary dispatch surcharge. Additionally, it was provided that, until further instruction, movements in each GU300’s individual account would temporarily not be recorded.
Energía Plus PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) prices are in US$-link. In certain PPA, prices are adjusted by CAMMESA’s price variation. Moreover, in 2021 the energy demand recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Under this regulation, CTG (Güemes Thermal Power Plant), EcoEnergía (EcoEnergía Co-Generation Power Plant) and CTGEBA (Genelba Thermal Power Plant) provide the Energía Plus to different WEM customers, with a 283 MW total gross capacity.
Finally, with the implementation of Plan Gas.Ar (Executive Order No. 892/20 and supplementary provisions), as from January 2021 generators under Energía Plus have the option to assign the operation of gas supply and transportation to CAMMESA, and a centralized dispatch order was established, taking into consideration the fuel designated for the generation. Pampa adhered to this scheme.
To encourage new investments and increase the generation supply, the SE (former Secretariat of Energy) passed Resolution No. 220/07, which empowers CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company) to enter into ‘WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market) Supply Commitment Agreements’ with WEM generating agents for the energy produced with new generation equipment. These are long-term PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) denominated in US$, and the price payable by CAMMESA should compensate the investment made by the plant at a rate of return accepted by the SE.
Under this regulation, in 2021 the 10-year term PPA matured at CTP (30 MW) and CTLL’s steam turbine ST01 (180 MW), remunerated as legacy energy as from July 15 and November 1, 2021, respectively. Therefore, by the end of 2021, CTEB (Ensenada Barragán Thermal Power Plant) (567 MW since April 2012) and part of CTLL (Loma de la Lata Thermal Power Plant)’s GT04 (79 MW since July 2016) continue under this scheme.
It is worth mentioning that the 10-year term of CTEB’s PPA (567 MW) will expire in April 2022. Moreover, CTEB has an ongoing expansion project underway to add 280 MW under this scheme, which commissioning is estimated for the third quarter of 2022.
As a result of the state of emergency in the national electricity sector declared under Executive Order No. 134/15 of the PEN (Poder Ejecutivo Nacional or National Executive Branch), on March 22, 2016, the SEE (Subsecretariat of Electric Energy) issued Resolution No. 21/16, launching a call for tenders for new thermal power generation capacity with the commitment to making it available in the WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market) by 2016/2017 summer, 2017 winter and 2017/2018 summer periods. Successful tenderers entered into a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) for a fixed price (US$/MW-month) and a variable price excluding fuels (US$/MWh) with CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company), which acted as counterparty on behalf of distributors and WEM’s large users.
Under this regulation there are: CTLL (Loma de la Lata Thermal Power Plant)’s gas turbine GT05 (105 MW) and CTPP (100 MW since August 2017) and CTIW (Ingeniero White Thermal Power Plant) (100 MW since December 2017).
On May 10, 2017, the SEE (Subsecretariat of Electric Energy) issued Resolution No. 287/17 launching a call for tenders for projects of co-generation and the closing to CC (combined cycle) over existing equipment. Projects should have low specific consumption (lower than 1,680 kCal/kWh with natural gas and 1,820 kCal/kWh with alternative liquid fuels). Besides, the new capacity should not increase electricity transmission needs beyond the existing capacity; otherwise, the tenderer would bear the cost of necessary expansions.
Awarded projects are remunerated under a 15-year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) for an available power capacity price plus the non-fuel CVP (Costo Variable de Producción or Variable Production Cost) for the delivered energy and the fuel cost (if tendered), minus the penalties and fuel surpluses. Power capacity surpluses are remunerated as legacy energy.
Under this regulation, CTGEBA (Genelba Thermal Power Plant) has had a gross 400 MW capacity since July 2020. Commercial operations at open cycle (201 MW) started in June 2019 with the incorporation of gas turbine GT02, remunerated as legacy energy until July 2, 2020, when the cycle was closed with the installation of steam turbine ST02 (199 MW), meeting the originally committed term despite the impacts of COVID-19.
Finally, as previously indicated, with the implementation of Plan Gas.Ar, as from January 2021, generators under SEE Resolution No. 287/17 have the option to assign the operation of gas supply and transportation to CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company), and a centralized dispatch order was established, taking into consideration the fuel designated for generation. Pampa adhered to this scheme.
- Non-spot remuneration for renewable energy
In October 2015, Law No. 27,191 (regulated by Necessity and Urgency Decree or Decreto de Necesidad y Urgencia No. 531/16) was passed, which amends Law No. 26,190 promoting renewable energy sources. Among other measures, it provided that by December 31, 2025, 20% of Argentina’s total demand for energy should be covered with renewable energy sources(1). To meet such objective, WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market)’s GU (Large Users) and CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico or the Argentine Wholesale Electricity Market Clearing Company) should cover 8% of their demand with such sources by December 31, 2017, the percentage rising every two years until meeting this objective. The agreements entered with GU and GUDI (Large Distribution Company Users) may not have an average price exceeding US$113/MWh.
Additionally, said law stipulates several incentives, including tax benefits (advance VAT return, accelerated depreciation on the income tax return, import duty exemptions, etc.) and the creation of the FODER (Fondo para el Desarrollo de Energía Renovables or Fund for the Development of Renewable Energies). This fund is destined, among other objectives, to grant loans, capital contributions, etc. to finance these projects.
Note: (1) As from December 2016, CHs (hydroelectric power plants) with a power capacity lower than 50 MW are classified as renewable sources of energy.
In 2016, RenovAr Program’s rounds 1 and 1.5 were launched under Resolutions No. 71/16 and 252/16 of the MEyM (former Ministry of Energy and Mining), respectively. In round 1, 29 projects were awarded for a total of 1,142 MW (97% of which were wind and solar energy projects. In round 1.5, 30 projects were awarded for 1,281.5 MW (100% wind and solar energy projects). In 2017, round 2 was launched under MEyM Resolution No. 275/17, with the award of 88 projects for a total of 2,043 MW (89% wind and solar energy projects). Finally, in 2018, round 3 (MiniRen) was launched for smaller-scale renewable projects (up to 10 MW), and projects for 246 MW were awarded.
Under this regulation PEMC (Ingeniero Mario Cebreiro Wind Farm) (100 MW) was commissioned in June 2018 (RenovAr round 1).
It is worth highlighting that, for RenovAr projects, greenhouse gas reductions resulting from power capacity installed nationwide —including any other project to meet the WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market)’s renewable goal set by Law No. 27,191— should be considered as the Federal Government’s contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
In January 2022, due to significant delays in the commissioning of certain RenovAr projects and to recover the transmission capacity for the admission of new projects, the SE (Secretariat of Energy) set, upon the compliance of certain conditions, the following options: (i) terminating the PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with the payment of US$17,500/MW (wind or solar projects) or US$12,500/MW (others) for the contracted power capacity; (ii) extending the term for commissioning, reducing the PPA’s term and price; or (iii) commissioning the project for a lower capacity.
Resolution No. 281/17 of the MEyM (former Ministry of Energy and Mining) issued in August 2017 regulated the MAT ER (Term Market from Renewable Energy Sources) regime, which sets the conditions for WEM (Wholesale Electricity Market) GU (Large Users) and GUDI (Large Distribution Company Users) to meet their demand obligation from renewable sources through the individual purchase within the MAT ER or self-generation from renewable sources. Moreover, it regulates the conditions applicable to generation projects. Specifically, it created the RENPER (Registry of Renewable Electric Power Generation Projects), where such projects should be registered.
MAT ER projects should not be committed under other remuneration mechanisms (e.g., the RenovAr Program). Surplus power generation over commitments with MAT ER is remunerated for up to 10% of the power generation at the minimum price for the applicable technology under the RenovAr Program. The balance will be sold in the spot market.
Furthermore, MAT ER agreements should be administered and managed following the WEM Procedures. The contractual terms —life, allocation priorities, prices and others, except for the maximum price set forth by Law No. 27,191— may be freely agreed upon between the parties. However, the committed volumes should be limited by the renewable energy produced by the generator or supplied by other generators or suppliers with MAT ER agreements in place.
Under this regulation, PEPE II and PEPE III (53.2 MW each) were commissioned in May 2019. The generated energy is sold under PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) in US$ with private parties; therefore, when expressed in AR$, they are exposed to exchange rate variations. The average term is approximately five years. Moreover, PEPE III has an ongoing expansion project to add, in stages, a total of 81 MW under this scheme, which commissioning is estimated for the second quarter of 2023.
In terms of volume, the drop in energy demand by GU as a result of COVID-19 and the macroeconomic context has not significantly affected the MAT ER segment, as these contracts were mainly destined to meet the base demand. In this sense, on top of our own generation from PEPE II and PEPE III, since 2019 the Company has sold renewable energy generated by third parties —for an average volume of 3 MW in 2021—, contributing to the MAT ER segment’s margin.
Other MAT ER considerations
On June 16, 2021, Resolution No. 551/21 of the SE (Secretariat of Energy), among other measures, replaced the dispatch priority maintenance guarantee with quarterly payments of US$500/MW as a dispatch priority reserve until commissioning. There is a maximum term of 24 months since the priority assignment, extendable for: (i) 180 days, continuing with quarterly payments for works with a minimum 60% progress, otherwise, making monthly US$500/MW payments; and (ii) 360 additional days, making monthly US$1,500/MW payments.
On the other hand, Provision No. 1/18 of the SER (Former Sub-secretariat of Renewable Energies) had regulated, among other issues, the dispatch priority allocation and the tie-breaking mechanism in case of insufficient transmission or transformation capacity. To this effect, the following order of criteria was considered: commissioning date, capacity factor, fiscal benefits and drawing by lot. On January 21, 2022, under SE Resolution No. 14/22, the dispatch priority is set to be granted to the tenderer offering the best payment, in a sealed bid, to reserve the dispatch priority (applying an increase factor on those set by SE Resolution No. 551/21).
- Tariff situation
Background: RTI (Integral Tariff Review)
Resolutions No. 66/17 and No. 73/17 of the ENRE (Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad or the ‘National Electricity Regulatory Entity’) of February 2017, as amended, established the 2017/2021 five-year period’s tariffs. Moreover, the ENRE set the remuneration update mechanism, the service quality system and applicable penalties, the reward system, and the investment plan to be executed by both companies over this period. In October 2017, the ENRE issued Resolutions No. 516/17 and No. 517/17, partially upholding the Motions for Reconsideration filed by Transener and Transba. It also established, retroactively as of February 2017, an AR$8,629 million and AR$3,575 million recognized capital base and AR$3,534 million and AR$1,604 million annual regulated income for Transener and Transba, respectively.
The semiannual update mechanism stipulated in the RTI sought to keep real-term values for remunerations collectible by Transener and Transba over the whole RTI’s five-year period. The adjustment formula considered the variations during such semester in the IPIM (Wholesale Domestic Price Index), ‘Manufactured Products’ item, the CPI (Consumer Price Index), and the Salary Index published by the INDEC (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos de Argentina or National Institute of Statistics and Censuses), weighted based on the cost structure and average investments for the RTI’s 2017-2021 period. This update mechanism contemplated a trigger clause that weighted the IPIM and the CPI semiannual variations published by the INDEC, ascertained at a deviation equal to or higher than 5%.
The last semiannual update took place in September 2019, adjusting Transener and Transba’s remunerations by 18.83% and 18.81%, respectively, for the December 1, 2018 – June 1, 2019 period, retroactively to August 1, 2019 (ENRE Resolutions No. 269/19 and 267/19).
However, the Solidarity Law and its supplementary provisions, which entered into force on December 23, 2019, provided that electricity transmission tariffs under federal jurisdiction would remain unchanged for up to 450 days or until new transitionary tariff schemes are in effect. It also empowered the PEN to begin an extraordinary review of the current RTI. Moreover, on December 17, 2020, Necessity and Urgency Decree or Decreto de Necesidad y Urgencia No. 1020/20 was published, launching the RTI renegotiation for a term not to exceed two years from its publication.
Current situation: transitionary tariff regime
The public hearing to consider Transener and Transba’s transitionary tariff regime took place on March 29, 2021. All documentation required by the ENRE was submitted. Upon ENRE’s request, the 2021/2022 economic and financial projection was updated in August 2021 and January 2022. However, no instructions on the transitionary tariff update were received from the ENRE.
Finally, on February 25, 2022, ENRE Resolutions No. 68/22 and 69/22 were issued, granting a transitionary tariff adjustment of 25% and 23% for Transener and Transba, respectively, retroactively to February 1, 2022. Given the differences between the tariff proposals of said companies and the final tariff schemes, Transener and Transba filed a request to review the proceeding and a preliminary challenge. They will also appeal to both resolutions.
It is worth mentioning that the tariff schemes of Transener and Transba had been unchanged since August 2019. Moreover, in their respective public hearings held in 2022, they informed that their transportation costs represented about 2% of the final bill (comprised of the raw materials, transmission, distribution, and tax).