Tuesday, June 25, 2024

After Tabasco wins a break on electricity tariffs, other states want one too

Now that the southern state of Tabasco has been given a break on electricity bills, others are lining up to demand equal treatment.

The governor of Tabasco announced last week that the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) had agreed to cancel 11 billion pesos in debt owed by more than half a million people, and that a preferential power rate would be introduced in the state on June 1.

Now, three other states – Guerrero, Chiapas and Veracruz – want lower power rates too.

Chilpancingo Mayor Antonio Gaspar Beltrán warned that Guerrero mayors could initiate protests against the federal government if it doesn’t listen to their concerns about high electricity prices and introduce cheaper rates. The mayors demand equal treatment, he said.

While it has forgiven debt in Tabasco, the CFE has cut off power to water systems in both Chilpancingo and Acapulco when they have failed to pay their bills. The CFE “has been very harsh with us,” Gaspar declared.

If lower electricity rates aren’t introduced in Guerrero, the mayor said, residents could join the civil resistance movement and refuse to pay their bills as occurred in Tabasco and some other states for more than two decades.

“[If in] Tabasco they had the astuteness to rebel [against the CFE] and to not allow electricity cuts. I believe that we can do it in Guerrero,” he said.

“On several occasions, I’ve said not to provoke us because the residents of Guerrero know how to defend ourselves,” Gaspar added.

In Veracruz, the private sector called on lawmakers to join forces in the fight to win lower tariffs.

Cheaper prices are necessary because the state’s hot weather increases demand for electricity, they argued.

José Antonio Mendoza García, president of the Veracruz branch of the National Chamber of Commerce (Canaco), said that both deputies and senators in the Gulf coast state need to take up the cause and put pressure on federal authorities.

Daniel Martín Lois, Veracruz president of the restaurant industry association Canirac, and Manuel Urreta Ortega, state president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), both argued that Veracruz deserves lower power rates because it is a significant energy producer.

Meanwhile, Chiapas Governor Rutilio Escandón Cadenas said that his administration is lobbying the federal government to have preferential power rates introduced in the state’s 34 poorest municipalities.

State legislators say there should be lower tariffs because Chiapas too is a major energy producer, generating 40% of Mexico’s electrical energy.

Tabasco Governor Adán Augusto López Hernández announced last Tuesday that his government reached an agreement with the CFE for a “clean slate” to apply from June 1.

From that date, electricity customers in the 17 municipalities of the Gulf coast state will be charged “the lowest rate in the national electrical system,” he said.

However, some Tabasco residents maintain that their resistance has not ended and say they will not pay future electricity bills.

In response, President López Obrador, a chief instigator of the civil resistance movement against the CFE in the mid-1990s, called on residents of Tabasco to be “good citizens” and pay their electricity bills.

The CFE is “a company of the people and it needs resources to continue providing service,” he said.

Source: El Sol de México (sp) 

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