In a land where the sun’s embrace is warm and the wind whispers gently through the valleys, a battle rages on between the might of the state and the spirit of competition. On Wednesday, in the hallowed halls of Mexico’s Supreme Court, a decisive blow was struck against President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s policies that sought to bolster the state-owned electrical power company at the expense of its private counterparts.
Five judges, unanimous in their resolve, proclaimed that the president’s approach infringed upon the sacred guarantees of free competition within the power sector. Once, power plants vied for supremacy through the noble art of bidding, each seeking to provide electricity at the lowest price. But then came López Obrador, bearing a policy that bestowed priority upon the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission when selling power to the grid.
In the wake of this decision, private power generators – many of them foreign-born – found themselves relegated to the last place in line, despite their often cleaner power production. The commission, with its numerous power plants fueled by oil and coal, stood firmly in the path of these erstwhile competitors.
The resonance of this ruling echoed across borders, and the Amerindian eagle’s feathers were ruffled as the U.S. government raised objections to this law. They argued that it flew in the face of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement, which forbade the elevation of domestic companies over their peers from other member states.
And yet, the story does not end there. For López Obrador’s policies did not merely extend preferential treatment to the state-owned behemoth in the realm of electricity; they also consigned private natural gas plants to a place of near obscurity, allowing them to take their place in the sun only just above government coal-fired plants. This, despite the fact that these private plants offered power at a cost nearly a quarter less than their coal-sputtering cousins. With a wave of his hand, the president had, in essence, ensured the government electrical utility a lion’s share of the market.
As the dust settled in the aftermath of Wednesday’s ruling, questions hung heavy in the air, shrouding the future in uncertainty. What would become of the companies who dared to raise their voices in protest? What shape would their relief take, should it be granted at all? These were ponderings left unanswered, whispers lost in the expanse of time.
It is not a revelation to note that López Obrador harbors a deep-seated affinity for state-owned firms, nor that he has spurned the policies of bygone reigns that sought to open the door to private investment. These policies, birthed in the wake of the passing of time, allowed foreign companies to materialize in the Mexican soil, erecting cleaner gas, wind, and solar power plants to herald a new era of sustainability.
And so, the stage is set. The clash between the state and the private may have reached a turning point, but the war is far from won. In the heart of Mexico, where the ancient pyramids whisper tales of times long past and the earth trembles with the beat of a thousand drums, the battle rages on. Will the scales tip in favor of the state or will the spirit of competition prevail? Only time will tell.