The reform’s main change will be to eliminate the economic criterion of always dispatching the electricity from hydroelectric and fossil fuel plants of the state-owned company, the CFE, over the private renewable plants and the combined cycle plants.
MEXICO CITY (EFE) – The Mexican Senate on Tuesday approved President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s controversial reform to the Electricity Industry Law, which seeks to boost the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to the detriment of private generators, especially renewables.
With 68 votes in favor and 58 against, after more than five hours of discussion, the Senate’s plenary approved, in general, the preferential initiative of López Obrador, approved last month in the Chamber of Deputies.
The majority bench of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) and its allies of the Labor Party (PT) and Social Encounter (PES), which endorsed the reform in the absence of reservations, defended the President’s speech with attacks and accusations against private companies.
“The draft decree by which several provisions of the Electricity Industry Law are reformed and added is approved in general,” said the President of the Senate, Eduardo Ramírez, after the vote.
During the session, several articles were reserved and discussed, and in the end, returned the regulation to the Chamber of Deputies for its constitutional effects.
In his turn, the President of the Senate’s Political Coordination Board, Ricardo Monreal, said that the reform “is constitutional and is congruent since it prioritizes the national interest of providing a public electric power transmission and distribution service.”
He specified that although “the generation of electric energy from wind or solar plants is not ruled out, it only regulates an order for its dispatch, that is to say, Mexico does promote the use of clean energies.”
He also pointed out that the document “does not threaten free competition, but rather regulates it. It is not unconstitutional. It promotes clean energies generated by the CFE, such as those derived from hydroelectric, geothermal, and thermoelectric plants. It is an indispensable reform”,
Previously, Mexican opposition senators announced that they would file an appeal of unconstitutionality against it once the Upper House approved the reform.
“We are going to exhaust all means of legal defense within our reach, we are going to prepare an action of unconstitutionality, and we trust that the Supreme Court will uphold the criteria it has been maintaining in energy policy,” said Claudia Ruiz Massieu, of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in a virtual press conference.
Together with senators from the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), they lashed out against the reform designed by the President that prioritizes the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) ahead of private national and foreign companies.
The opposition criticized that the reform would represent “continuing non-compliance with all environmental regulations” because it discriminates against clean energies.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Senate Commissions of Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change and Legislative Studies endorsed, with 23 votes in favor and 20 against and without changes, the opinion approved by the Chamber of Deputies a week ago.
The pro-government bloc, headed by Morena, also blocked the opposition’s proposal to convene an open parliament exercise so that civil organizations and businessmen could give their opinion on the ruling.
The main change in the reform will be to eliminate the economic criterion of always dispatching first the electricity from the hydroelectric and fossil fuel plants of the state-owned company, the CFE, over the private renewable plants and lastly, the combined cycle plants.
It also retroactively orders a review of previous government contracts with private parties and changes the Clean Energy Certificates (CEL) rules to give them to old CFE plants.
Since he sent the initiative to Congress on February 1 with a preferential character, to be discussed within 30 days in each Chamber, López Obrador has asked not to change “not a comma” of the ruling, an instruction that his legislators have followed.
Last Sunday, the Mexican President assured that the Senate would approve his controversial reform to the Electricity Industry Law.
“I am sure it will be put into practice, it will be executed, it will be approved because it is to strengthen the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE),” said AMLO in an event in the state of Zacatecas.
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