Mexican President Gears Up to Defend Energy PolicyBy Cas Biekmann | Mon, 08/03/2020 - 08:51
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has taken two key steps to defend his energy policy: filing two appeals at the Supreme Court, as well as naming a new head for the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement (CONAMER), reported Energía a Debate.
The government has filed two legal appeals at the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN). The appeals challenge the suspension against SENER’s Policy on Reliability, Safety, Continuity and Quality for the National Electric System published on May 15. The appeals were overseen by the president’s legal counsel Julio Scherer and have already been admitted by the court.
The president further appoints Alberto Montoya, current Deputy Minister for Energy Planning and Transition of SENER, as the new head of CONAMER, according to sources cited by Expansión and El Financiero. Montoya’s appointment comes after the departure of César Hernández in May, who resigned after SENER published its policy without going through CONAMER’s due process.
SENER’s policy is based on the pandemic’s effects on the national energy system, aimed at restricting access of private renewable energy to the market and strengthening state production company CFE, a move considered by many to widen the rift between public and private energy sectors. Private parties were quick to challenge the policy in court. Minister of Energy Rocío Nahle and President López Obrador argued that the private sector would not receive any benefits as far as the reliability of the national energy system was concerned.
The state has been seeking to expand CFE’s role, which López Obrador and Nahle argue has been unfairly diminished in past administrations. Despite this, they also showed clear signs of willingness to accept the final judicial ruling on the matter. While Nahle did not mention the ruling directly in a tweet, she stressed that she respects judicial decisions, but that the government nonetheless has an “obligation” to ensure national energy security and supply for the country. In an interview for the TV program Fórmula Financiera, Nahle said the government will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision. “At the end of the day, the court will decide,” said Nahle.