On June 22, 2020, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (“COFECE” as per initials in Spanish) issued a statement informing that COFECE filed before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (“SCJN” as per initials in Spanish), a constitutional controversy against the Agreement the Policy of Reliability, Security, Continuity and Quality in the National Electric System, issued by the Ministry of Energy, which was published in the Federal Official Gazette on May 15, 2020 (“SENER Agreement“).

The foregoing, for considering that it undermines the fundamental principles of competition and free market access ordered in the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, affecting its constitutional mandate and braching its sphere of competence.

COFECE considers that the aforementioned policy is contrary to the content of articles 16, 28 and 133 of the Constitution, as well as to the applicable laws on electricity, which together establish a competition regime in the generation and supply of electricity. Likewise, COFECE expressly states:

The instrument published in the DOF seriously affects the economic structure of the electricity sector, as it eliminates any possibility of its operating in conditions of competition and efficiency, as well as under the terms set forth in the current national regulatory framework for this sector. Hence, the contested Policy compromises both the open and non-discriminatory access to transmission and distribution networks (an essential input in this industry), as well as the economic dispatch criterion that governs the operation of the wholesale electricity market; furthermore, it grants advantages in favor of certain participants while reducing the ability of others to compete, forefits efficiency and establishes barriers to entry in electricity generation.”

It remains to wait for the SCJN to rule on the constitutional controversy filed by COFECE. Particularly, regarding the scope of the SENER AGREEMENT, issued by such government agency, apparently in excess of its powers and invading the powers of COFECE itself, to the detriment of consumers.

It should be clarified that, from the legal point of view, a constitutional dispute is a constitutional control mechanism, in the form of a trial, to settle disputes. In this case, between an autonomous constitutional body and the Executive Branch, having effects the resolution issued by the SCJN only between SENER and COFECE.