Mexico requires an approach that benefits end users, and that energy is not seen as a commodity but as a social right.
To reduce energy poverty and benefit end users, sector officials proposed democratizing the country’s energy policy.
Héctor Moreira, a representative of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), declared that Mexico has changed its energy policy every six years for 20 years, prioritizing energy security through coal and nuclear energy, going through global warming, while today it is pursuing its sovereignty
“We cannot expect everyone to have their own energy policy, we must use our democratic system in energy decisions and what people can expect from the supplier,” said the commissioner during a virtual event.
He recalled that during 2002, under the PAN government of Vicente Fox, Mexico bought coal from Australia because the energy policy was one of security, while the option of US gas was not viable due to high costs, but with the arrival of fracking and shale gas In the United States, energy was obtained at low cost and the energy matrix was anchored to said hydrocarbon.
During the PRI government of Enrique Peña Nieto, the energy policy was ecological with the reduction of the carbon footprint, so electricity from renewable plants was dispatched first. Now, with President López Obrador, the government seeks to strengthen state companies, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).
The Mexican government estimates that 20% of Mexicans use firewood to cook food and heat their homes, most of them in rural areas.
Moreira said that the burning of firewood, an available, reliable, and low-cost resource, is harmful to the environment and human health, but for a peasant that is not a priority, so he insisted on the need for a democratic process to achieve a national consensus.
“We are taking these leaps (every six years) because there is no in-depth debate on the rights that we are going to give to the people in terms of energy, and how those decisions are going to be made,” he commented.
María Valencia, an official of the Puebla government’s energy agency, commented that there is a lack of rights for the final energy users, not beyond an economic point of view.
In Mexico, about 1.2 million inhabitants, equivalent to 35,000 homes, lack energy due to their situation of extreme poverty, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) cited by the environmental organization Greenpeace, and it is possible that the rest of the population have energy, but with supply problems.
“Approximately 37% of homes in Mexico are deprived of an economic good, lighting or air conditioning because they do not have enough energy and this is also a form of energy poverty,” he declared.
Valencia added that our country needs an approach that benefits end users and that they are not seen as a “simple merchandise” but as a “social right”.
“Clearly it has to be put in political contexts about what the priorities are and translate it into public policy,” he said.