Castro's price rise shock for power-hungry citizens

HAVANA - Cuba has raised electricity prices by as much as 333 per cent to save power and deal with chronic energy shortages.

President Fidel Castro said he had no alternative in the face of high world oil prices.

The first 100kW a month will cost 9 Cuban pesos, but those who use more than 300kW will see bills quadruple to at least 269 pesos ($17.49), more than the monthly minimum wage.

Cuba has faced power shortages since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the island of subsidised oil.

"The lack of concern about electrical consumption is evident," Castro's decree said. He also announced wage and pension increases.

"Our people live on a salary of US$10 ($14.58) but that is equal to US$1000 ($1458)," he said. "Go to Paris and pay for electricity."

- REUTERS

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