Mexico Antitrust Body Takes On Govt Over Energy Policy

(Reuters, 22.Jun.2020) — Mexico’s antitrust regulator said on Monday it had filed a suit at the Supreme Court against the energy ministry, arguing that steps taken by the government last month were in breach of free competition under the constitution.

On May 15, the ministry published a set of rules giving the state more control over approval of new renewable energy projects, intensifying concerns the government was violating existing contracts and bent on squeezing out companies.

The Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) said in a statement that the energy ministry’s new dispositions violated the fundamental principles of “free competition”, and urged the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

The ministry’s move “seriously affects” the structure of the electricity sector and impedes access to transmission and distribution networks, as well as favoring certain participants and hampering the ability of others to compete, Cofece said.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to strengthen the state’s role in energy production, arguing that previous governments handed too much control to the private sector at the expense of consumers.

However, the government’s efforts to reduce the influence of private energy providers have sparked protests from the European Union, Canada and Mexico’s top business associations.

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