The Argentine government on Wednesday announced big hikes in wholesale electricity rates starting in February, although it has not been determined precisely how much retail customers will end up paying.

The decision by the Energy and Mining Ministry was published Wednesday in the Official Bulletin and - although it includes the withdrawal of subsidies - rate discounts will be provided to homes that reduce their power consumption compared with the same month a year ago, and there will be a minimum rate for low-income families.

The new rate structure will provide the basis for establishing the price of electricity bills for end-users, figures that will be released in the coming days.

According to the official Telam news agency, the rate increase will be 200-300 percent for big users, while this will be reduced if consumption is less than 300 kilowatts per month.

The ministry justified the cost increase by noting "the existing disconnect between real costs and prevailing prices."

The administration of Mauricio Macri last December had anticipated that it would gradually reduce the funds allocated to the state to subsidize household consumption of gas and electricity. EFE