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In yet another bruising blow to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s headstrong efforts to undo the country’s Energy Reform, implemented in 2014 by his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto, the national Chamber of Deputies’ Economic, Commercial and Competitive Commision (CECC) rejected his Electricity Reform Bill, which would limit grid providers almost exclusively to the government’s own carbon-based suppliers.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the commission issued a formal response to AMLO’s controversial initiative — which he had “instructed” Congress to “approve without a single modification” —    warning that the proposed changes to existing electricity regulations are “unviable,” echoing a decision by Mexico’s Supreme Court one day earlier invalidating the bill on the grounds that it would violate central elements of reliability, security, continuity and quality for the state-run grid.

The Supreme Court also said that the proposed bill, which would favor public sector providers over cleaner private sector providers — including those with which the government has existing contracts — would encroach upon the sovereignty of Mexico’s Federal Commission for Economic Competency (Confece) and would give undue preference to the floundering Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

The CECC report, which was discussed in detail by the entire Chamber of Deputies later in the day, recommended that AMLO’s bill not be approved since it would violate the Mexican Constitution and would disrupt the free flow of energy production and administraton nationwide.

Since taking office in December 2018, AMLO has worked steadily to undermine and reverse most aspects of the 21-part comprehensive energy reform that opened both the state-run (and bankrupt) Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and its sister company CFE to private investment.

As part of his so-called Fourth Transformation, the president has adapted protectionist policies to prevent competivity and private investment in Mexico’s energy sector, even cancelling pre-existing contracts and refusing to hold public tenders, courting the anger and a slew of law suits from private investors.

…Feb. 18, 2021

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