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Utility Bills Surge 100-Fold as Venezuela Slashes Subsidies

  • Government adjusts policy for light, water, gas and tolls
  • Drop in oil revenue forces Maduro to regularize prices
Power lines bring subsidized electricity to homes and businesses in the Catia neighborhood of Caracas.
Power lines bring subsidized electricity to homes and businesses in the Catia neighborhood of Caracas.Photographer: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg

Venezuela’s government is quietly rolling back a decades-long policy of subsidizing electricity, water, gas and road tolls to shore up fiscal accounts, shifting the costs to businesses and individuals long accustomed to cheap utilities. 

Across the South American country, light and water bills are rising. Tolls have been reinstated in several states. Gasoline stations are increasingly charging US dollars. And Nicolas Maduro’s government is ceding control of the sale of cooking gas and the levying of taxes to municipalities.