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Yucatán hotels balk at electricity tariffs that raised rates 77%

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From left, the Holiday Inn, the Hyatt Regency and the Presidente Intercontinental are part of Mérida’s hotel zone. Photo: La Jornada Maya

Mérida, Yucatán — Complaining their electric bills have risen by 77 percent since August 2017, the association representing Yucatán’s hotel sector has taken their case to the national Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE).

Héctor Navarrete Medina, president of the Mexican Association of Hotels of Yucatán, said the higher power bills is seriously damaging the hotels’ bottom line.

The group is asking the CRE to rethink its mechanism for assessing commercial and industrial electric rates, which are much higher than anything a private home would see.

“Hoteliers from Baja California, Sinaloa and Guanajuato have already filed federal injunctions against the institution due to the collection of tariffs that have been gradually raised to establish the real damage to the companies that need this vital service,” said Navarrete Medina, whose group has 161 hotels in its membership.

“We understand that the CFE (the federal electric utility) is not responsible for tabulating tariffs, but that this function is exercised by the Energy Regulatory Commission, therefore, we are analyzing the legal conditions to protect ourselves against this dependence,” he said.

Hotels are competitive and cannot simply pass the charges on to their customers.

Yucatán, which depends on fuel oil to generate energy, already has some of the nation’s highest CFE rates.

In 2017, a pilot plan called “Hoteles Verdes” promoted solar power in Mérida’s two- and three-star hotels. Hotels were offered up to 15 million pesos in multi-year tax credits and low-interest loans for using sun-powered hot-water systems, but no businesses stepped forward to sign up.

By 2019, some relief could be in sight.

The Mayakan natural-gas pipeline project is scheduled to begin operation in Yucatán by the beginning of next year.

The project will allow the region to be integrated into the National Gas Pipeline System.

When companies and households have access to natural gas, the CFE will be forced to reduce its rates, said the commissioner of the Energy Regulatory Commission, Guillermo Ignacio García Alcocer.

With information from La Jornada Maya

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