EconomyFinancialThe private initiative to Manuel Bartlett: "We do not...

The private initiative to Manuel Bartlett: "We do not want to destroy the CFE"

The private initiative and some of the main representatives of energy policy had their first public debate on the electricity reform of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

On the second day of open parliament, the discussion was divided between a private sector that assures that it wants to build alongside the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and Manuel Bartlett, director of the national electricity company, inviting the private sector to support the initiative, to avoid increases in their rates in the long term and defend the state company.

What began as a usual series of accusations against private companies and the results of the 2013 reform, at some point became an exchange of flattery and laughter between the only representative present from private initiative, the deputies and Bartlett .

José Abugaber, the president of the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of the United Mexican States (Concamin), assured that they have spoken out against the presidential reform because it would represent an increase in their production costs and a reduction in their competitiveness against other economies with much lower costs.

The private sector, he said, is not closed to a change in the rules, but for this they consider that a constitutional reform, such as the one under discussion, is not necessary. “If someone is doing things wrong, there are places where the law is applied, the rule of law. If someone is doing wrong, we as businessmen are not going to defend them, nor are we going to shelter them. It is like the message of the apple tree, we remove the rotten apples, but we do not cut the tree because we are left without apples”, he responded to the continuous criticism about the electricity consumption of large industrialists under the figure of self-supply, which have become the center of the discussion.

“The business community, and I want to clarify it, wants to build together with the Federal Electricity Commission, it has never been against the Commission (…) We want to build with the Federal Electricity Commission, we do not want to destroy the Commission, but we do not have borders as a business community , we have to have a level floor,” said Abugaber. “We are here to build, we are not against in the sense that we seek the best for the country, we are in favor of seeking what is needed.”

Abugaber was the only representative from the private sector. At first, the attendance of Carlos Salazar Lomelín, who directs the Business Coordinating Council, was contemplated, but his participation was omitted at the last minute. The highest business representative did not attend the debate, which was changed to the day to include his participation. “I wish that others had had that courage, that integrity [to attend],” said Leonel Godoy, deputy for Morena.

The public sector had greater representation, with Ricardo Mota Palomino, the director of the National Center for Energy Control (Cenace) and Adrian Olvera, the director of the subsidiary CFE Generación V. The presentations of both officials focused on criticizing the companies of self-sufficiency and the intermittence of renewable plants.

And Bartlett, the director of the state and who has become the president’s main adviser on electrical matters, looked a little more serene than usual. He began with the usual accusations against the private sector and even the Federal Electricity Commission, which are also often heard in the National Palace, but as the hours passed, the director’s position was slightly less confrontational.

“[The business community] exists because of the CFE, who electrified the country and benefited the national industry has been the CFE, it is their company, it is the company of the Mexican industrialists, of all of them, not just a few. And what we should think about is that the large industrial and commercial sector in Mexico should support the CFE,” Bartlett said. “I would tell businessmen to think about it, their company is the CFE, it is the one that has given them life.”

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